Here’s a product that is probably unlike any other you’ve come across in M2M. It’s the USAT Coverage Tester, and it lets corporate adopters and consultants test out network coverage in specific locations before deployment to make sure they’re choosing the right network and getting the best possible coverage.
Here’s how it works: the customer or consultant rents the Coverage Tester from USAT Corporation, and takes it to any location where coverage will be needed for the M2M deployment. The device collects data about the strength and reliability of the network coverage, and USAT then analyzes that data with its back end servers at its headquarters in Chapel Hill. Along with this very innovative and helpful product, USAT also offers other wireless services such as mobile platform selection, activation services, and installation, as well as network switching and management.
About the Coverage Tester
Before the Coverage Tester, it was very difficult to run empirical coverage analysis reports based on scientific data. Often, client organizations rely upon zip code searches and other antiquated forms of coverage analysis that are run off of data provided by the wireless data carriers themselves. This type of evaluation represents a conflict of interest between the clients and the carriers.
As a third party and non-carrier USAT is able, using a carefully conceived and engineered solution, to deliver pure data to client organizations. Decisions based on carrier coverage in a designated geographic region can therefore be based on the scientific method, and not marketing hype.
Overview of Coverage Tester Components and Results
The USAT cellular coverage tester was designed to compare the wireless data coverage offered by multiple public network carriers at distinct geographic points. The information captured by the coverage tester includes latitude and longitude information, time, date, and the coverage metric measured through the RSSI value (received strength signal indicator). These values are relayed in real time to a server housed in USAT’s data center. After the data has been gathered following geographical and time line parameters that are predetermined by the client organization, the data is parsed.
For this report, coverage reports for each carrier will be issued by the Coverage Tester hardware roughly every 2-4 minutes during the analysis test period. This allows for a highly granular analysis of coverage even with the test vehicle being a tugboat moving at relatively slow speeds. Below, USAT has assembled an empirical coverage analysis report outlining the testing period, carriers included in the test, general geographical area, and coverage information. USAT also provides recommendations for best coverage strategies based on the data at the end of this analysis.