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2G/3G sunset - what’s on the horizon for fleet managers?

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Kinana Hussain, vice president of product management at CalAmp

The 2G/3G sunset often has an intimidating connotation within the fleet world. But, much of the nerves around this transition come from a lack of understanding and explanation regarding the need and purpose behind the transition, and clearly defined steps for fleet managers to take action.

Here is what you need to know, avoid, and do, to make sure that your fleets transition smoothly during this sunset.

Why are network operators turning off their 2G/3G networks?

It is widely understood that newer wireless networks boast faster speeds and wider coverage, but little time is spent explaining why it is necessary to make the transition to the newer networks.

There are multiple reasons for a network shut down but a primary reason is that operators need to reuse the spectrum from older 2G and 3G networks to deliver faster, more efficient networks like 4G LTE and 5G.

By sunsetting or shutting down legacy networks, it makes way for new networks that can deliver faster data speeds, enabling more technology innovation that will deliver more robust applications and services for the marketplace.

What happens if your fleet doesn't make the switch?

You may already be experiencing some of the effects of the 2G/3G shutdown without knowingly pinpointing the cause.

As the sunset dates approach, the quality of legacy carrier services may decrease. Some areas will be shut down at different times, causing a disruption in seamless connectivity.

This can pose a major safety and security risk for fleet managers counting on those networks to deliver real-time data from fleet and asset management solutions.

This means that details on driver behavior and vehicle maintenance alerts on fuel usage, engine faults and route maintenance, could be disrupted.

In order to maintain visibility throughout your fleet, managers need to make the switch to 4G LTE networks to ensure there is no disruption in service.

Benefits of 4G LTE for fleets

While a switch may seem disruptive, there are a great many benefits to 4G LTE that make the adjustment not only necessary for your technology, but beneficial for overall fleet operations.

In terms of productivity, 4G LTE is up to 2,500 times faster than 2G and provides greater cost-savings when it comes to moving data.

Additionally, 4G LTE paves the way for smarter telematics devices, enabling greater access to the latest edge computing.

New 4G edge devices have the ability to support innovative services that enable fleet managers and enterprises to get more out of their vehicles and assets.

These services can include video telematics, driver behavior scoring, crash detection and mesh networked asset tracking.

Even better, these 4G edge devices are 'future-proof' meaning they will also work on future generations of cellular technology.

With 4G LTE networks, fleet operators will be able to incorporate new telematics technologies that save time and money, maximise operational efficiencies and improve safety.

Looking forward

With the sunset of 2G/3G networks comes more powerful edge computing devices enabled by the faster 4G network.

The combination of speed, bandwidth and computing power will result in a greater emphasis on edge processing as opposed to solely relying on processing in the cloud.

Edge computing allows telematics edge devices to process multiple data streams from a multitude of sources in the field to deliver actionable insights in the office.

Moving away from 2G/3G networks will give fleet managers faster data transmission and more contextual and automated information from remote assets to improve the precision of workflows.

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