Short Range Comms are meant for verbal communication (facilitated by the FD). The crew can hail other entities on different frequencies. The FD can then answer or reject the call. Additionally, the FD can hail certain ships for the crew if necessary. Thorium allows for multiple short range comms to be open at once, allowing for the illusion of a "conference call". The crew can also switch back and forth between who they are speaking with allowing them to put others on hold.
This functionality is best paired with the viewscreen to show the crew who they are speaking with on what frequency and if the call is connected or not.