You may have heard the term “network sunset” but aren’t sure what it means, when it’s happening or if your fleet will be affected.
To help explore this topic in more detail, we recently hosted a webinar with John Binder, Trimble Transportation’s director of wireless operations. In this engaging discussion, John walked through a variety of network-related topics, including why and how wireless carriers are sunsetting older networks, the benefits of 4G LTE and what the future holds for wireless connectivity.
Shining Light on Network Sunsets
In short, wireless carriers have already begun to repurpose older 2G and 3G CDMA and GSM networks as part of their strategy to invest in faster, more robust, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.
The 3G network sunset has to do with capacity and bandwidth. There is a limited amount of spectrum available on wireless networks. As wireless carriers want to introduce new services and networks, they have to reuse some of their spectrum to do so.
U.S. carriers are beginning to repurpose CDMA and GSM networks in 2019, starting with Verizon and with other carriers following suit in 2020 and beyond. Verizon stopped accepting new device activations on the CDMA network in June 2018.
As the maps below indicate, this means large parts of the country will be without CDMA coverage once networks go dark.
It is also important to note that the reliability of these networks will likely begin to degrade well before they are shut off for good. Think of it like an abandoned road: at first, you might still be able to access it but over time the lack of maintenance and repair make it impossible to use.
Using this Sunset to Your Advantage
If your fleet has any onboard equipment that connects to older 2G or 3G networks, this means you may begin to soon see a degradation or “sunset” in coverage quality and availability, which will eventually render these devices obsolete.
But there’s good news around the corner: 4G LTE networks are capable of providing enhanced connectivity in ways that CDMA networks never could.
LTE networks are capable of transferring data 10 times faster than older CDMA and GSM networks, which means faster logins, better response times and an enhanced user experience. As the map below indicates, LTE also provides access to coverage in geographical areas that CDMA and GSM networks never served.
For nearly three years, Trimble has provided LTE-connected solutions to help its customers navigate the network sunsets and improve their fleet’s connectivity.
Visit our Future of Networks resource page to learn more about this important industry topic and how we can help you ensure your connectivity today and in the years to come.