When vehicles operate without access to GSM networks, there are GPS devices that make it possible to use satellite communications to transmit telematics data to the server. This method of transmitting data packets allows devices to be connected even in the most remote corners of the planet. Today we’ll show how Iridium works and what devices to choose for affordable satellite communication.

How Iridium GPS tracking works

When a device with Iridium module is located in the area where GSM signal is stable, Iridium module does not work. GSM networks have higher priority. As soon as this device leaves the area and GSM signal is lost, Iridium module starts working and the connection will not be interrupted.

Communication through the Iridium channel
How GPS trackers transmit data through Iridium. A diagram by Galileosky

In order to be able to use the Iridium satellite channel, the user must sign a contract with an Iridium partner to provide a communication channel. Iridium partners have different terms and prices for providing services. There are devices that can be connected to satellites of a certain provider, such as Globalstar devices.

Pros and cons of Iridium satellite communication

Usually devices with Iridium modules are more expensive than trackers with GSM chips only, but they allow our partners to do their business anywhere: sea, mining pits, deserts, aircraft and territories outside the GSM network coverage area.

Also, Iridium traffic is more expensive than GPRS traffic. It means that Iridium hardware is preferable if your customers’ needs meet the following conditions:

  • Trackers often work outside the GSM coverage area.
  • Data traffic is less than 1 Mb per month.
  • Devices should be online every time and continuous monitoring is critical.

Types of Iridium GPS trackers

There are two types of GPS trackers that use Iridium. They can have either internal or external modules. We will describe each type in more detail below.

Internal Iridium module: combined solution

Earlier Iridium GPS devices only had internal modules. This makes them quite expensive, but you don't need to buy an additional external module to update your tracker.

GPS devices with internal Iridium module:

  • Naviset devices
  • Globalstar devices
  • Galileosky v4.0 with Iridium module
  • Galileosky Base Block Iridium
Naviset GT-10
Naviset GT-10
Globalstar SmartOne
Globalstar SmartOne
Galileosky Base Block
Galileosky Base Block

External Iridium module: adaptable and cheaper solution

With the implementation of external iridium modules, the technology becomes more accessible and flexible for businesses. This way, you can choose any compatible GPS tracker and connect an external Iridium device to it.

Recently we integrated the Teltonika TSM232 external module. You can connect this device to your FM63XY, FMB630 or FMB640 tracker via RS232 interface. Once connected, the device will be able to use Iridium. You can configure this feature in the configurator.

Teltonika TSM232 Satellite terminal
Teltonika TSM232 Satellite terminal

We hope the article was useful to you. Let us know if you have any questions regarding the technology or device integrations at [email protected] or contact your personal Navixy manager.

To never miss a story on business insights, device guides or software features, join our communities on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.