How do radio monitoring systems work?

Young woman driving and using GPS system in car

Anti-theft monitoring systems operate on the basis of various technologies. Currently, the most popular are location devices that use GPS / GSM modules. This solution is particularly useful in fleet management systems, but it does not guarantee car owners complete safety against the attempts of thieves. A better solution is to use radio locators. We explain how they work and why they are such a good choice.

Types of vehicle monitoring

Vehicle tracking devices are available in three types. The first of them are locators with a GPS / GSM module, which use both satellite signals and communication known from mobile phones for their work. The second group of devices is equipped with radio modules that allow for position determination based on high-frequency radio signals. The last category are systems combining the capabilities of satellite and radio technology.

Car GPS locators are the most popular of all the solutions mentioned. Why? Because they make it possible to monitor the position of a vehicle on an ongoing basis, and in the case of more advanced systems, even various parameters of its operation (e.g. fuel consumption or current engine speed). Location devices with a radio module work only after theft – activation of the monitoring system takes place only when unauthorized movement of a protected car occurs.

Why is it worth choosing radio monitoring?

 Although radio locators do not work continuously, in practice they perform much better than solutions based solely on GPS / GSM communication. The main reason is the limitations of satellite signals – it is enough for a vehicle not to be in the range of the satellites for the entire localization system to simply stop working. Messages are highly susceptible to various factors, including unfavorable weather conditions or even troublesome terrain. Thieves who store stolen vehicles in underground parking lots or metal containers are well aware of this.

Radio communication is not only more stable, but also much more accurate. The measurement error in the case of GPS modules can be from 2 to even 10 meters – the obtained result becomes more and more general with increasing interference. The radio system makes it possible to indicate the position of a vehicle with an accuracy of even a few centimeters. With the help of such information, relevant services can find the appropriated vehicle and hand it over to the rightful owner. The radio locator is also completely independent of mobile operators.

Differences between radio monitoring and classic GPS

Both GPS and radio locators make it possible to locate a stolen car, but both devices differ fundamentally in their operation and technical aspects. One of such issues is, for example, power supply – most GPS systems use the electricity stored in a vehicle’s battery, while radio modules are most often equipped with their own energy storage. In practice, this means that the installation of the radio system does not require interference with the factory installation of a vehicle, and at the same time makes it possible to attach the receiver in an unobvious place.

Radio locators are virtually undetectable , as they remain in sleep mode and are only triggered when theft occurs. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for GPS devices – the communication system used by them allows specialized thieves to quickly find the transmitter and dismantle it. What’s more, satellite signals are relatively easy to jam, it is enough to use the so – called jammers, which can be purchased on the Internet for as little as several dozen zlotys.

However, GPS is a more practical solution because it enables constant vehicle monitoring , for example with the help of an application for mobile devices or a special computer program. The radio system is only activated when there is a need to track a car. This extends the battery life (it can work up to 5 years), but at the same time makes the user dependent on a locator supplier.