Detailed data helps organizations solve cellular coverage problems in vehicle fleets

Jake Smith

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service and Coverage Map feature enable businesses and agencies to analyze LTE performance by location and make informed mobile networking decisions

Cellular connectivity is what Cradlepoint does best, but connectivity is a two-way street. In order  to provide a best-in-class Wireless WAN experience, there needs to be a cellular signal (preferably a healthy signal) to connect to and transmit data. In vehicles, where a router is almost always moving, that signal is ever-changing and potentially dropping out of coverage range. Those dropouts or “dead spots” can become very problematic if the user’s mission-critical applications begin suffering interruptions.

This is where Cradlepoint’s GeoView with Coverage Map can help. NetCloud GeoView is a suite of features that uses GPS and cellular health to provide a system administrator with usable analytics about the location and signal strength of its vehicles.

GeoView includes:

  • Location Services, which provides a single current location of a router
  • Location Tracking, which provides historical locations for a router over a defined period of time
  • Coverage Map, which provides a map of cellular health (modem signal strength and signal quality) as tracked from routers’ recent locations

The new NetCloud GeoView Coverage Map displays the historical cellular health of all enabled devices within an account, helping customers identify areas of both challenging and excellent connectivity so they can respond by changing routes or working with their carrier to develop improvements.

How does it work?

The data displayed in the Coverage Map is collected through the Location Tracking feature. When a mobile router has Location Tracking enabled, the device reports timestamped GNSS coordinates of the device to the NetCloud Service along with the modem’s cellular signal metrics. These metrics are used to calculate the cellular health of the modem and scored into four categories: Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor. Correlating these scores with the location and time of the sample enables a customer to build a powerful geospatial database of their connectivity history.

Data by itself, however, can only go so far. “The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight,” said Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Insight is where NetCloud NetCloud Manager excels — transforming insights and analytics into visual dashboards. The Coverage Map enables customers to intuitively explore their data over a responsive map. Using both a date range selector and data filter, customers can quickly gather insight and solve problems. Just to name a few, here are some examples of problems that Coverage Map can help you solve.

“I need to select a location for a mobile command center or temporary healthcare center.” 

Your organization would just need to filter cellular health to Excellent over the last 30 days and locate areas of excellent coverage for prospective locations of the command center.  

I am having trouble deciding which carrier to select.” 

Your organization could send a vehicle on a drive test using a dualmodem IBR1700 router with each modem connected to a different carrier. Once the drive is complete, you can compare the results in Coverage Map by filtering between the two carriers to determine which has better coverage in that area.  

I have connectivity issues that are difficult to reproduce in the lab.  

Your organization can locate dead spots by filtering cellular health to “Poor and then determine if the issues correlate with the router or adapter passing through a particular spot 

I need to verify I am using the spectrum my carrier advertised.  

Carriers like to market the benefits of the spectrum they own. Confirming that your organization is actually using that spectrum simply requires filtering on the correlating carrier and LTE band to see where your routers have connected using that spectrum. 

Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for Mobile and in-vehicle routers can help you solve many of your connectivity challenges in building a Wireless WAN. Learn more about Cradlepoint’s Mobile Advanced service plan on our our in-vehicle networking page.

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