BURLINGTON, Ont. — PeopleNet has partnered with Iridium to offer satellite communications as an option to complement its wireless network.
By partnering with Iridium, which operates the world’s largest privately-owned constellation of commercial satellites, PeopleNet officials say they now offer “truly universal” coverage to fleet customers, even those operating in the most remote corners of the continent.
“This is an important step for PeopleNet and our customers. Satellite combined with PeopleNet’s efficient, broad-band network will greatly benefit fleets that operate in areas without wireless coverage, from a few remote areas of the United States to the vast northern reaches of Canada,” said Brian McLaughlin, chief operating officer of PeopleNet. “Beyond that, the PeopleNet fleets that deploy the Iridium option will be qualified to do business with shippers that require satellite.
“Those shippers can include the U.S. Department of Defense as well as companies that deal in dangerous or valuable products,” McLaughlin explained.
Iridium satellite communications, through PeopleNet, will be available on a dual-mode basis on installed vehicles. PeopleNet’s onboard system will communicate over the PeopleNet wireless network where it is available, but switch to Iridium mobile satellite services where it is not. The system will always choose the least-cost option. The change will be seamless, automatic and imperceptible to the driver, according to officials.
Fleet managers will be able to select what kinds of data can or cannot be transmitted by satellite. Location reports and dispatch-related messages might be allowed while training videos and personal e-mail could be held, for example. Held content would be delivered when trucks return to wireless coverage. The Iridium option can be deployed across a fleet or installed on individual units within a PeopleNet fleet, officials say.
The Iridium constellation consists of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites operating as a fully meshed network and supported by multiple in-orbit spares. Iridium provides economical data communications service that does not suffer from the latency of other LEO satellite providers — latency describes the lag time between the time a message is sent at one end and the time it is received at the other.
“The satellite option solves problems and opens doors. It offers a new level of opportunity to PeopleNet and to all of our customers,” McLaughlin said.
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