How to Select the Best GSM/GPS Module for a Vehicle or Asset Tracking

When starting a project, the first challenge is to select the best parts for it. In the case of a tracking project, the main parts would be the GPS and GSM modules are the main components. This article will help you find the best ones from the choices available review film in the market. We will discuss the features or specifications you should check before sourcing these parts.

Things to Consider before Purchasing a GPS Module

  • Size: Sizing matters as it may affect not only the size constraints but also other technical parameters like lock time and accuracy etc. For applications like tracking, we will need the module with the smallest size possible without any compromise in the accuracy or the response time, etc.
  • Update Rate: The update rate of a GPS or GNSS module is basically how often it recalculates and reports its position. The standard for most devices is 1Hz (Only once per second). 5-10Hz update rates can be considered if you need them to work on faster vehicles which are not required in most real-life scenarios.
  • Communication Interface: It’s the interface used to communicate with the GPS Module. Serial/TTL or the USB interface is the most commonly used interface type by the GPS module.
  • Communication Speed/Baud Rate Refers to the speed of communication between the microcontroller and the GPS module, in the case of serial interface it is called the baud rate. Higher the baud rate allows for faster GPS data to be sent to the MCU.
  • Navigation Sensitivity dBm figure dictates how prone the GPS module is able to capture the signal from the satellites. Higher dBm indicates that the module is able to better pick up satellite signals
  • Power Requirements include the working voltage and the power consumption. It is necessary to select the proper device because in most cases the modules will be battery powered and we will need to conserve the battery to maximize working time. The average power consumption of most common GPS modules is around 30mA at 3.3V
  • Number of Channels that the GPS module runs will affect your time to first fix (TTFF). Since the module doesn’t know which satellites are in view, the more frequencies/channels it can check at once, the faster a fix will be found. After the module gets a lock or fix, some modules will shut down the extra blocks of channels to save power. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer for a lock, 12 or 14 channels will work just fine for tracking.

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