Your GPS Tracker & Security System on Cellular Networks

This article was written prior to the start of the CDMA Verizon sunset. Call to get additional/updated information on our GPS technology and where we are at in 2018.

A lot of people don’t realize that while GPS trackers use global positioning system satellite signals to calculate location, they report that location using cellular signals. Recent updates in cellular technology has ultimately resulted in better service and more robust coverage in the United States, a benefit Lightning GPS is pleased to be able to offer to our customers.


Verizon CDMA is the Best Network Right Now

In the United States there are two types of networks: GSM and CDMA. Lightning GPS uses the CDMA wireless network through Verizon Wireless.

What’s the difference between GSM and CDMA networks? For most users, the differences between the networks are relatively negligible. The main difference is that GSM network devices store customer information on removable SIM cards. CDMA devices use network-based white lists to verify subscribers, so no SIM cards are required. GSM also works internationally (the acronym is short for Global System for Mobiles). Europe mandated the use of the GSM network in 1987 and the rest of the world followed suit, in time.

The important thing to remember is that, regardless of whether they’re CDMA or GSM, some networks are better than others. For this reason, Lightning GPS uses Verizon’s CDMA network. Verizon offers the best coverage in the United States across the most amount of markets. As the number of dead spots in the GSM network continue to grow, Verizon’s CDMA network is only getting stronger.


LTE is the Future

When the Lightning GPS team was selecting networks, we not only considered GSM v. CDMA, we also considered 2G v. 3G v. LTE. While 3G coverage offers faster data speeds than 2G, 3G coverage on the GSM network can be spotty, so Lightning GPS chooses to operate using Verizon’s CDMA network to offer the best service at the lowest price.

CDMA provides the data speeds needed for a GPS tracker or a home security system now, but the future is undoubtedly in LTE (the acronym means Long Term Evaluation). Eventually all of our devices will be on the LTE network, but right now, there are key factors prohibiting the switch: price, power, and size.

LTE chips are more expensive, more power hungry, and larger than their 2G counterparts. Because of their data consumption, LTE devices tend to burn through battery much faster than 2G devices (see your smartphone as an example). As a result, battery-powered trackers need to be significantly larger to accommodate such a power source. As of now, hardware technology hasn’t caught up to the prowess of the LTE network, but as technology develops and advances quickly, this transition is expected in the next few years.


What This All Means to You

Lightning GPS operates using the reliable Verizon Network. If you’ve recently purchased a GPS tracker, you’ve got the best coverage available at the best possible price. Our team is committed to continued research to ensure that our customers’ needs are met. If you have questions about the Verizon Wireless network or Lightning GPS devices, please contact our team.

Crystal Kamm