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Understanding The Impact of GPS Rollover Events on Fleet Management Technology

There has been some recent buzz in the transportation industry about certain telematics devices potentially being impacted by a GPS rollover event. These events can result in lost connectivity, missing data, and plenty of headaches.

 

So, what exactly is a GPS rollover event?

It all has to do with GPS satellites, which transmit signals that use a 10-bit binary counter to represent the GPS Week Number, a key piece of the date and time information.

Every 19.7 years, this week number counter reaches its limit and rolls back to zero. The GPS Week Number Rollover (WNRO) event requires special testing and validation using simulation techniques to ensure that it is properly handled by GPS receivers. A GPS receiver that does not have compliant firmware may experience errors.

The first of these events occurred in 1999 and we experienced our second rollover event earlier this year. While the official GPS WNRO event occurred in April, the actual rollover date is dependent on the GPS receiver software. Each product and GPS receiver, modem or module must be identified to determine whether a WNRO issue exists and, if so, what its rollover date is.

 

Trimble’s Approach to GPS Rollover Events

Since starting business in 1978, Trimble has shipped millions of GPS units. These are comprised of hundreds of GPS products with thousands of versions of software and firmware that are subject to frequent change.

Trimble continuously performs testing and analysis on its products, simulating anticipated WNRO events and circumstances prior to actual events. Although we cannot always control or precisely simulate how a GPS satellite will perform during an actual WNRO event,
this proactive approach is designed to ensure any impacted products have firmware updates in place to address the GPS rollover event and avoid any potential interruptions in connectivity.

 

 

Trimble has published a GPS WNRO Resource Center, which explains the issue in further detail and highlights our approach to monitoring and addressing this event.

 

Addressing and Anticipating Industry Technology Changes

WNRO is just one of several industry-wide technology changes that Trimble closely monitors.

From the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate to the sunset of 3G networks, we are dedicated to preparing our customers for the transportation industry’s technological evolution.

Contact us today to learn more about Trimble’s innovative approach to technology and how we can help you implement solutions that increase connectivity and performance across your business.