Trucking firms across the country have only two days left to prepare for a change in the network technology that allows them to track their fleets with global positioning system (GPS) technology, as telephone providers upgrade to higher bandwidth networks, technology providers warn.
The changeover comes as many commercial fleets are scrambling to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in their cabs by Dec. 31, 2017, set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
That deadline is still a year away, but fleets using older equipment may have to upgrade their tracking devices earlier to use the faster wireless networks.
AT&T will shut down its second-generation (2G) wireless network on Dec. 31, 2016, as it changes to third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) networks capable of supporting increasing mobile Internet usage, the phone company says.
That is great news for online shoppers and commuters who like to watch cat videos on the way to work, but it could have serious implications for trucking companies who have relied on 2G networks for a decade to track their fleets, according to US Fleet Tracking, a GPS tracking manufacturer providing Internet-based access to live vehicle tracking and asset management.
"To avoid having no GPS tracking connection at all, everyone using the old system will need to upgrade to devices that utilize the new 3G technology," the Oklahoma City, Okla., company said in a release. "Upgrading is the only way to keep work life simple and take advantage of things like automatic oil change notifications, geofencing, and speed alerts."
US Fleet Tracking is offering upgrade packages for customers using older devices, and serial number checks for others who want to confirm that their current devices are already 3G-capable.