Wireless Networks – GSM/GPRS
For Real-time GPS tracking, the wireless network is used to communicate the GPS data from the vehicle/asset, so location, speed and stop times can be viewed in Real-time. Think in terms of how mobile phones work. There are two types used; (1) Digital Cellular and (2) Satellite. Obviously, digital cellular is more popular due to cost. This is the same with communicating real-time GPS data for vehicle tracking.
Wireless Networks: Cellular vs. Satellite
Due to the facts that (1) hardware is less expensive (2) monthly service fees are less expensive (3) superior network reliability; a digital cellular-based system is the best way to go for the vast majority of companies that want to use a real-time system for nearly any type of tracking.
Digital Wireless Networks
If you are looking to purchase a 1st tier GPS tracking system, then you should be looking for a system that operates on a 1st tier digital wireless network. All of the 1st tier wireless communications companies is the market have moved to digital wireless networks. There are two types of types of digital wireless protocols that the major communication companies have utilized for the build-out of their wireless networks:
2. CDMA (1xrt)
There is an on-going debate as to which of these protocols is superior for cell phones, but for live data feeds for devices used for GPS tracking, mobile email, and wireless forms, the “always on” technology of GPRS is clearly superior.
GPS devices that use this network are “pay as you go” type devices. One should only consider using GPS devices on these networks for applications where only a few location records per day are required.
GPS devices that use these networks should never be considered for fleet management applications due to the fact that reporting vehicle activity for a sound fleet management system requires between 1000-3000 records generated per month. The cost of this many records on these networks would be far above the flat fee you would pay with a superior, digital GSM/GPRS.