Is My GPS Tracker Working Properly?

SATX Technologies supports thousands of gps tracking devices on our GPS platform. Over the years from our customers, we have compiled several support requests which sometimes users can mistake how the technology works versus the device being broken.

One of the Top Requests We Hear From Our Users:

Device is frozen and is not moving

A device frozen or stuck in one place on the map of the GPS server could only be one of three things.
a.) Device is not linked up with GPS satellites
b.) Device has 10% or less battery power
c.) Device has poor cellular coverage in that specific area and cannot report a new location (yet).

Examining Problem A “Device is not linked up with GPS satellites”

This doesn’t mean the device is not working properly, if the device reported any location in the past then the chances of the GPS receiver not working are slim. What this really means is your device at this specific time cannot communicate with 3 GPS satellites. Remember, you need 3 satellites to have a pinpoint location at all times. Does this mean our GPS devices coverage is not adequate? Hardly, the satellites orbit the earth in space, for whatever reason at that specific time no one in that specific area could link up with the satellites.

Examining Problem B “Device has 10% or less battery power”

Our devices read battery power as a sensor in increments of 10. There is no way to actually tell other than 10% or less. At that point reporting can stop and cause the device to get hung or pause on a map. It is working properly, because it is reporting the last known location at that time.

The real problem is: the device does not have enough battery power to report the location from the device through the GSM network to the server. What we recommend is setting up alerts at 30% and 20% to remind you the device needs to be charged. This will ensure you get real time reporting for the maximum time. There is no real way to tell if your device would report at 5% or how much battery it would take to get one more report. This is very similar to when you are trying to take a picture at 3-5% on your phone, it tells you that you do not have enough battery to use the flash.

Examining Problem C “Device has poor cellular coverage in that specific area and cannot report a new location (yet).”

The GPS is working fine but at a certain point the cellular coverage is not adequate enough to send the longitude latitude coordinate back to the GPS server. Does this mean our service is mediocre or not up to standard? We have partnered with all cellular providers and when a specific tower cannot be reached, the device is configured to go into roaming mode. At one point you may see on your sensors GSM 10 or 9. This means you have 9 or 10 towers within range to send the data to the GPS server. Say you are in T-Mobile range and then all of a sudden you are in a “dead zone” which doesn’t allow you to connect to a T-Mobile tower. Two reasons why even in 2018 we still have dead zones.

There are 2 reasons that can cause dead zones – (1) distance from cell tower and (2) obstructions that block tower signals.

Has zero to do with the device, and yes, back in the day dead zones were only believed to happen in rural areas or in the country. If we examine the second reason which is obstructions, this could be because you are in a valley or depression. Nevertheless once you get out of that area your device is smart enough to connect to the closest most available tower regardless of the carrier.

We can look at a variety of things from a technical standpoint to troubleshoot your devices. The one thing we can’t do is change how this technology works. The truth of the matter is: every GPS tracker uses either a CDMA or GSM network and they all use the GPS satellites that orbit in space. Every tracker has the same issues at one point in time no matter what. You can run any GPS tracker through dead space and it will get hung and pause no matter what device it is. These aren’t excuses, this is just how devices work and no company can truly promise your device is going to work perfectly 24-7. It all depends on several factors for the device to work properly and most of the time what it really requires is user patience and understanding on how the device should properly work.

What we can promise is a customer support experience that you can rely on. Our technical support team will take time out to look at your device while ensuring our users are properly educated on what exactly is going on. We also do stand by being one of the only GPS tracker companies that can say we are partnered with all cellular providers and can offer that much more availability when it comes to ensuring your device is connected to whatever tower is available.