When you’re shopping around for a car tracker, it’s easy to be bamboozled by the various options available to you. This is also true when it comes to the feature sets of many of the incredible trackers, especially those in our store.
One of the most misunderstood facets of car trackers is related to the technology that comes built into these amazing devices that helps you locate a stolen vehicle.
We’ve previously done a post on GPS tracking and what that is, but this time we wanted to look at another term you might see when browsing, GLONASS. It’s not a term many of us in the English-speaking world might be familiar with, but we think it’s important to know what it is and how it works.
WHAT IS GLONASS?
GLONASS is a portmanteau of the words GLObal NAvigation Satellite System and consists of 24 satellites operating in Earth’s orbit.
The system was first developed by Russia as far back as 1976 but the first satellite wasn’t launched until 1982. The system became fully operational over a decade later in 1995.
At its core, GLONASS is basically another type of GPS (Global Positioning System) used to track the position of compatible receivers around the world. This could be via your mobile phone or, in our case, in a car tracking system.
GLONASS is a Russian satellite-based system that works as an alternative to the more western-based GPS, but the two systems can also work together to help make the data they provide more accurate. In some cases, this collaborative approach results in a 20% improvement than using just GPS alone.
Whilst people often refer to GLONASS as a singular entity, there are actually five versions of it. As we mentioned, the first one launched in the 1980s and was only initially used for military and official Governmental projects, primarily for weather and positioning needs.
When GLONASS-M launched in 2003, this update was the first time it offered civilian uses. This was further enhanced in 2011 when a third civilian frequency was added, known as GLONASS-K.
The latest working version, known as GLONASS-K2 was originally planned to launch in 2021 but was postponed until 2022. Here in 2023, we’re still waiting for it to be launched and come online.
The fifth version of the system is currently being researched and is expected to launch towards the end of this decade.
HOW DOES GLONASS WORK?
Like any global positioning system, GLONASS works via a network of satellites orbiting the earth in three orbital planes. GLONASS has 8 satellites per plane. This constellation geometry then repeats once every 8 days.
To receive a location, you will need a minimum of 4 of them for a receiver to calculate its position in 3D space. This also helps the receiver, or tracker in our case, understand your position, velocity and acceleration information.
If you’re wanting to make sure your next vehicle tracker comes equipped with GLONASS (as well as many other technologies), then check out our systems that come with it built in. They include:
No matter what tracker you want to buy, regardless of whether it’s a GLONASS-compatible system or not, our team is available from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday on 0330 043 3993 to talk you through the process. Мы рады услышать от вас в ближайшее время.
It’s fair to say, no matter what aspect of life you’re looking at, the technology we use every day has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. This is especially true when it comes to car security.
Whilst the old-school security measures of steering wheel locks, gearstick brackets or wheel boots were once de-rigour for every motorist wanting to protect their vehicle, the high-tech world we live in means that they simply aren’t enough on their own anymore against a determined car thief.
The most up-to-date cars possess technology that enhances the driving experience that would seem like witchcraft just a couple of decades ago. With every ground-breaking automotive advancement we make, the cat-and-mouse nature of security means that there’s always a workaround or loophole they can exploit.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the car tracker.
HOW TRACKING SIGNALS WORK
Vehicle trackers, like every other product on the market, come with a variety of features that their manufacturer hopes will make their product stand out in an ever-more crowded marketplace. Dedicated smartphone apps, control centre support and notifications are commonplace but they also share the need for a signal/connection to make these features a reality.
Depending on which tracking system you buy, it will be able to operate using one, or more, frequencies to help triangulate its position, by working out how long the signal takes to be sent, received and returned by different satellites in orbit above the Earth.
WHAT FREQUENCIES ARE UTILISED
Across the range of vehicle trackers we sell here at Infiniti, if you look at the specifications of many of them, you’ll see that all of them will use GPS (Global Positioning System). GPS is just one frequency on which their signal is broadcast. Think of it as the baseline.
All GPS satellites broadcast on at least two carrier frequencies. These are ‘L1’ which operates at 1575.42 MHz and ‘L2’ at 1227.6 MHz. It’s also worth noting that newer GPS satellites also broadcast on L5 at 1176 MHz. Unfortunately, these frequencies can be blocked with the right equipment.
Ideally, you want a tracker that doesn’t just rely on one signal, but instead can harness the power, and therefore reliability and accuracy, of multiple networks. Even if one if blocked, the others will still work.
These can include GLONASS, Galileo, LBS, GSM and VHF. All of which can, given the right tools, still be blocked, with the exception of the final one; VHF or Very High Frequency. The reason it can’t be blocked is simply that it’s undetectable. It’s for that reason it’s the signal chosen by military operations across the world.
WHAT DOES INSURANCE-APPROVED MEAN?
If, as part of your car insurance policy, the company has asked for the vehicle in question to have an ‘insurance approved’ tracking system installed, then it can be confusing as to what this actually means. In reality, it often means that the tracker they require installing needs to detect any tampering.
This is often standard and can easily be measured thanks to its dedicated smartphone app. This will help monitor and alert you to any attempts to tamper with the vehicle. Whilst the reality is that GPS or GSM signals can be blocked, devices like the Protect and Connect S5 from Vodafone Automotive or the S5+ and Locate systems from Tracker can alert you when there is an attempt to block those signals.
With every system sold by Infiniti Tracking you will:
⚬ Find professional, courteous help and advice to find the right tracking for you.
⚬ Be sure to have your device fitted wherever you are in the UK by our team of dedicated trained engineers.
⚬ Get peace of mind that you’re dealing with experts in the industry.
Whilst the sheer range of products on offer can be daunting, we are here to help you find the right system for you. We know how much you value your car and we respect that it can be daunting to find the right one, so our team are available to you from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday on 0330 043 3993 to help, so just ask!