The headlines have been focused on the 5G telecommunications rollout—and its problems around airports. What has taken a backseat is the transition from 3G to 4G in February, a move that will leave thousands of older devices inoperable. According to Cradlepoint, a company focused on 4G and 5G wireless networking using the cloud and edge computing, all major U.S. cellular carriers are “sunsetting” support for 2G and 3G cellular networks by the end of 2022. Here are some general target dates for each network operator:
- AT&T (3G HSPA+ network) — Feb. 22, 2022
- Sprint (3G WCDMA network) — Mar. 31, 2022
- T-Mobile (3G UMTS network) — July 1, 2022
- Verizon (3G EVDO network) — Dec. 31, 2022
In other words, organizations that use 3G for enterprise networking will need to replace and upgrade their wireless edge routers to keep those devices and applications running. And 3G is not the only evolution of cellular technology that is undergoing changes; for some carriers, 4G is changing, too.
Because AT&T’s 3G shutdown will be accompanied by changes to its 4G service, organizations that are using AT&T 4G will need a modem firmware update in their routers. Sprint is also shutting down its 4G service in June 2022 as it shifts customers to T-Mobile or another carrier. Thus, any company using Sprint 4G will need to swap the SIM cards in its routers.
Many companies and public sector agencies stopped using 3G a long time ago, but there are some situations where 3G has remained sufficient. Those still using 3G mostly are using it for the cellular IoT connectivity necessary for devices and applications that don’t require lots of bandwidth or particularly high performance, including:
- Industrial equipment control
- Remote asset monitoring
- Temperature monitoring in restaurant freezers
- In-vehicle telematics systems
- Emergency call boxes
- Utility controls
Companies that provide services to the IoT and other impacted segments are already making adjustments and working with clients to be prepared for the changeover. For example, HCSS, a provider of software that helps heavy civil businesses streamline their operations, is assisting fleets in getting ready for the 3G to 4G transition. HCSS Telematics allows for higher bandwidth and data speeds, a more comprehensive coverage range, and improved network reliability. That’s important because there are still an estimated 10-20% of fleets operating on 3G devices that need to transition to 4G before the 3G sunset, or their business will get left behind.
With HCSS Telematics, data is collected from a vehicle like GPS information, total run time, speeding, harsh braking and turning, and other diagnostics, giving fleet managers visibility into their operations. HCSS Telematics creates precise geofences to easily track and log entry and exit times. It helps to also protect drivers with vehicle health and driver performance information.
Supervisors get more accurate hour reporting and a better representation of equipment utilization by pairing HCSS Telematics with HeavyJob. This gives them the ability to populate their timecards with engine runtime hours. Integrate HCSS Telematics with HCSS Dispatcher to help dispatchers make better scheduling decisions by seeing where equipment has been scheduled and where it is in the field. It allows contractors to confirm schedules and handle equipment exceptions easier.
Not only can HCSS Telematics integrate with other HCSS software, but Telematics makes your GPS data more accessible by allowing businesses to integrate Caterpillar, John Deere, Volvo, and Komatsu OEM (original-equipment manufacturer) GPS data. HCSS Telematics integrates with more OEM GPS systems than its competitors, giving companies over 13 OEM GPS options to choose from so businesses don’t have to purchase new equipment.
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