FAQs

How do I fix the "no maps at this zoom level"?

PROBLEM: Google maps message: We are sorry, but we don't have maps at this zoom level for this region.  

CAUSE: It happens when you try to center the map on an area that is too large. 

SOLUTION: Logout and then login again. 

If that does not work, clear the cache and restart.

Why would a device stop reporting on interval?

There are several possibilities. Review the list below for possible solutions. If you still have problems, contact FSN Tech Support at support@freightsecurity.net

  1. The Reporting Interval could have been set incorrectly. If the Reporting Interval is set to 12 hours, it means that the device will report every 12 hours.
  2. If the device was disconnected from the battery when the Reporting Interval was sent, it may not have been set. Check the Device Log for a good locate within 2 minutes of setting the Reporting Interval. A device should not be manually pinged when setting the Reporting Interval. 
  3. Make certain the battery did not get disconnected. With some devices a momentary disconnect of the battery will require that the device is powered back up. Check the lights on the unit to make certain it is on. 
  4. Check the last battery update to make certain that the battery has a reasonable charge. Make certain that the date of the battery sensor is current. 
  5. Some devices, like the Mini MT will go to sleep after 30 minutes of no motion. 
  6. Check to see if the sensors are reporting. If a device is in range of only one cell tower, it can report sensors, but the tracker may not be able to pinpoint the device location.
  7. If the device stopped reporting shortly after placement. Check the placement of the device.
  8. If the device stopped reporting shortly after leaving the depot, check the cell phone coverage in the routes that the device will travel.
If none of the above point to the problem, click on the "Support" tab for the device in the tracking application's Dashboard. This will identify the device for Support. 

Availability of Location Services

Network Location Base Services are not always available depending upon the local cellular provider. Our CDMA trackers all use Sprint network coverage. You can use the following tool to determine coverage. The map shows areas in green that have complete coverage (SMS, Data, and LBS). Areas that appear in white do not have complete coverage.
www.showmycoverage.com/mycoverage.jsp?id=Q8123OMM

Cell Sector Lookup
Cell sector lookup is available throughout Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, and China through the gpsOne service offering, though the service is not available to roaming devices. This technology is also available in most European markets to a varying degree as the look-up tables are often provided by private firms and may not be as reliable as carrier provided data.

Cell Tower Triangulation
Cell tower triangulation is available in the same footprint as gpsOne in Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, and China but is subject to the same roaming restrictions.

Cell Sector Distance
Cell tower sector and distance is available in the same footprint as gpsOne in Canada, US, Mexico, Brazil, and China but is once again subject to the same roaming restrictions. This technology is also available from a service provider called Orange, which offers service in the seven key European markets of Italy, Germany, England, Ireland, France, Spain, and Portugal.

Known Satellite Vehicle
This location service is available globally via GNSS, Galileo, or GPS and is not subject to any roaming restrictions.

Assisted GPS
Assisted GPS is globally available through the Broadcom service offering, though the service is defined as best effort, as there is known to be coverage gaps in the less used areas of the system. These coverage gaps over time will cease to exist due to the nature of the Broadcom service which records every geo-location and cell tower ID transmitted; so as usage of the service increases the service holes will decrease.

Autonomous Assisted GPS
This technology is globally available within the restrictions of the device's functionality and not subject to roaming restrictions.

Can you spoof a GPS tracker signal?

Portable GPS satellite simulators can create fake GPS signals by "spoofing" an existing GPS receiver from a distance of about 30 feet away. Since these portable GPS satellite simulators are small enough to fit in the trunk of a car, can be powered off an inverter, and can be rented for less than $1K per week, they are a threat to the safety of cargo.

All trackers are vulnerable to this technology when operated in Autonomous GPS mode. The tracker may return no fix possible, or it may return an erroneous fix some of the time. However, what thieves may not know is that FSN trackers are completely unaffected by GPS satellite simulators when operated in AFLT mode (Advanced Forward Link Trilateration).  In AFLT mode, accuracy of location data drops a bit, but the tracker is immune to spoofing. Therefore, if you suspect that the signal is being spoofed, you can confirm its position using an AFLT locate. One way to tell that the tracker signal is being spoofed is if you start to see 80% of position locates being provided with autonomous GPS; this is because almost all locates are performed using AFLT with covert cargo tracking.

As a side note, spoofing the signal of an FSN tracking device requires a great deal of information and coordination. The thieves would require a perfectly pre-built feed with the expected coordinates occurring in the proper order. This means they would need to know exactly where the truck is supposed to be going and be able to queue the truck’s expected route to the appropriate place and start playing it at exactly the right time. This scenario is highly unlikely.

What materials are porous?

Porous means the material contains pores (small or tiny holes), while non-porous means the material does not contain pores. If the material will pass liquid or gas it is porous.

Examples of porous materials include dry wall, wood, concrete, gunite, rubber, and some plastic.

Examples of nonporous materials include hard fired brick, some ceramic tiles, some types of marble, granite, smooth concrete that has been sealed, some types of masonry finishes such as epoxy coatings, glass, granite, slate, polyethylene, and Athermic windshields.

What time interval will keep the tracker from generating more than 500 pings per month?

The number of pings a device generates per month depends on how much of the month the device is in use. To assist you in calculating usage there are 43,200 minutes in a month, and 720 hours. You should consider how much of the time the device will be idle. 

Factors affecting Battery Life

Several parameters affect the power usage of any remote monitoring device, but the most common are reporting interval, temperature, reporting mode and the type of technology being used to send the wireless data.

Reporting Interval

  • CDMA devices use considerably more power to transmit data than to sit idle. The more often a device transmits, the more battery power it consumes, and the less time the device is available for use. The effect of reporting interval varies with technology, but increased reporting intervals can decrease the battery performance by as much as 80%.
  • Geo F2 and Geo F3—These devices use dual reporting intervals in combination with a motion sensor to improve the frequency of the reporting while still taking advantage of the improvements in battery technology.
  • Geo F1—This device uses a Skip Count to skip reports when a device is stationary.
  • GSM/GPRS devices—These devices (for example, the MiniMT) do not benefit from slower reporting intervals.

Temperature 
Temperature has a significant impact on battery performance that depends greatly on battery chemistry. A rule of thumb for temperature degradation is that battery performance will decrease by 35% at either the upper or lower range of the specified operating threshold. Outside this threshold the battery may not work at all.

Reporting Mode 
Reporting mode is a complex battery management issue, but one that offers the most improvement for the smallest sacrifice. There are three reporting modes: full power, low power and hibernate. These methods are implemented differently based on technology, but the principles are similar.

  • Full Power Mode—This mode results in the highest power consumption. The device's modem and location system are active at all times. Because the monitoring application can poll the device at any time for its current location, the device is the most responsive in this mode.
  • Low Power Mode—Depending on the reporting interval, low power mode can increase battery life by as much as 100%. Low power mode involves switching off all systems on the remote device except for the communication modem. In this way, FSNtracks can still poll the device for its current location, but the device will have to enable the components it has disabled to save power. The device is as effective as it is in full power mode, but slightly less responsive due to the delay in powering up the sleeping components to respond to requests.
  • Hibernate Power Mode—This power mode can have dramatic improvements in battery life, but has significant drawbacks in responsiveness. The device turns itself off completely when not in the act of determining its location or actively transmitting, and will power down all aspects except for its controller which will monitor a clock or other type of sensors to determine when the device should power on to report. Devices using this power scheme are completely unresponsive to polling because they are shut down, and not overly responsive to changes because they must power-up before reporting or sensing. However, this power scheme can increase battery life by as much as 10,000% because the device is essentially turned off while it is not in use.

Can a GPS jamming device disable a tracker?

The way a GPS jammer works is to emit energy at the frequency it is trying to block to raise the noise floor above the signal you are trying to receive, thereby making the signal unintelligible. The quality of a GPS jammer is based on how wide a frequency it can disturb and how much power it can emit—in effect, how far it can jam signals. The GPS jammer that thieves would be likely to use is small, and probably has only 5 meters of effective range.

To understand how a GPS jammer would affect a tracker, consider how FSN trackers work. FSN trackers have two modes of operation—Assisted-GPS and cellular tower triangulation—both of which use different frequencies. Assisted GPS is less susceptible to jamming than GPS, and cell phone tower triangulation is even less susceptible than Assisted GPS to jamming.

To give a specific example, a GPS jammer that can only jam a GPS signal at 5 meters would have to be within 2 meters to jam an Assisted-GPS signal, and directly on top of a device that uses cell phone tower triangulation to jam its signal. Therefore, using a GPS jammer with the tracker would be impractical—the thief would need to know where the tracker was located so that the GPS jammer could be placed directly on top of it. In this case, the thief could simply disable the tracker.

How can I save the data as evidence?

There are several ways to save data as evidence:

  • Click on the map and press the Alt+Print Screen buttons on your keyboard to capture the map. If you have a laptop, you may need to press Alt+Fn (Function key)+Print Screen buttons. The last active screen is saved to the Clipboard. Open Microsoft Paint and paste the contents of the Clipboard (press Ctrl+V).
  • Select the History you need, and then click the red PDF icon or the green Excel icon (below the Map View) to generate a copy of the data.
  • Print the information on the Device Panel by clicking the icon at the bottom of the panel to collapse it, then print the screen to a PDF or printer.
  • Export maps from a given date range to a KML file and create a presentation. You can regenerate the maps using the KML file(s) in either Google Maps or Google Earth.
  • Click the Google icon to generate a KML file. This file can be used to regenerate the map in Google. You can establish a free Google account to do this.

To view the KML file in Google Maps:

  1. Navigate to Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/).
  2. Login to your account.
  3. In the upper left click My Maps.
  4. Click Create new map.
  5. Click Import.
  6. Click Choose File and select the KML file.
  7. Click Upload from File.

To view the KML file in Google Earth, use File Open.

If a device is at rest and goes to sleep, does a ping still count against my service plan?

No, it only counts against your service plan if the tracker responds to the ping and provides its location. If it provides sensor information but does not provide a locate, it does not count against your service plan. 

What battery do I have?

Refer to the FreightWatch International Technical Support page for identification and specifications for batteries.

Can I deploy tracking devices on airplanes?

The Office of Flight Standards for the FAA identifies the FAA policy with regards to RFID devices (Advisory Circular 20-162). However, the FAA does not currently have a written policy or directive that specifically describes, endorses, or prohibits the use of GPS tracking devices on any type of aircraft – personal, commercial passenger or commercial cargo. The FAA is aware that some entities frequently use GPS tracking devices within cargo on aircraft that they own and operate. The FAA has never taken any enforcement action (warning, citation, fine or otherwise) against these cargo-carrying entities for utilizing these devices within their own planes. The FAA has taken a position that if a company and its airline carrier agree to allow the placement of portable GPS tracking units within the cargo hold of a passenger aircraft, then the FAA tacitly approves the use of these devices for this specific arrangement.

How do I find out my tracker's current battery level?

From the FSNtracks Dashboard, view the Sensor panel for the tracker to see the current battery level. Make certain that the date is current. All devices send current battery information when a Request Location is performed.

What is Store and Forward?

Some devices have a data logging capability that can be used to store data collected during coverage lapses for a future upload. In effect, while the remote monitoring device is in the air or on the ocean and effective communications are not available, the device will store the data and upload to the wireless network once the boat or plane is once again within coverage. This method does not effectively mitigate the issues with determining location in these coverage lapses, but will allow sensor data to be relayed.

The stored data is time-stamped by the device. If the device enters a coverage area and the stored data is sent to its FSNtracks log, although the log may not be in chronological order. If data is exported, or the log is exited and re-entered, the log will be re-organized in chronological order.

Store and forward is supported by the Mini MT and Geo F2. The Geo F1 does not support store and forward. The Sendum PT200 supports store and forward in rare circumstances

What is a 'ping'?

A 'ping' is a location request in the FSNtracks application.

Forgot your password?

Click the Forgot Password link on the Login page of the URL to your tracking and monitoring application to receive your password by email. Your username and email address must match our records; otherwise, no email is sent.

If you still have problems, contact Technical Support or call +1 512.529.0292 (CT)

What is an MEID?

A Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) is a globally unique number identifying a physical piece of CDMA mobile station equipment. The number format is defined by the 3GPP2 standard S.R0048 but in practical terms, it can be seen as an IMEI  with hexadecimal digits.

What is Sleep vs. Hibernate?

Sleep mode refers to the state that some tracking devices (like the MiniMT enters when it is not in motion for a period of time. It does not respond to pings and only wakes up when it is moved. This allows it to save battery. It also prevents scatter on the map.

Hibernation refers to a mode that some tracking devices support where the device will go to sleep when not moving, but can wake up on set intervals to report its location and check for commands.

What causes a Request Timed Out message?

With wireless communications there will always be times when FWtracks cannot communicate with a device that has not gracefully logged off the network. This can occur for the following reasons:

  • The device was in an area where the cellular network does not have coverage or inadequate coverage.
  • It can occur because the device was placed where it could not send or receive a good cellular signal.
  • It could also indicate a placement problem.
  • The device was powered down. In most cases, FWtracks is informed that the device has powered down but not always.
  • It could indicate a disconnected battery.
Request Timed Out does not always mean it could not reach the device. It takes 90 seconds to time out. If the device cannot get a location, you get the Request Timed Out message. It is worth trying again.
If the device reports Request Timed Out but updates the sensors, the device is functional and should report a good location once it is in an area of good coverage.
Also note that sometimes you will get an update from the system but then a Request Timed Out. This can occur with some devices that send a last locate when they are powered off. 

What is a Lithium-ion battery?

Lithium-Ion batteries (sometimes abbreviated Li-ion) are a type of rechargeable battery commonly used in consumer electronics. They are currently one of the most popular types of battery for portable electronics, with one of the best energy-to-weight ratios, no memory effect, and a slow loss of charge when not in use. They can be dangerous if mistreated, however, and unless care is taken their lifespan may be reduced. Although originally intended for consumer electronics, Lithium-ion batteries are growing in popularity with the defense and aerospace industries because of their high energy density. A more advanced lithium-ion battery design is the lithium polymer cell.

What causes the dots to be scattered?

Scatter is most prevalent when a tracking device is not in motion. Tracking devices work best when they are outside and moving. The most accurate locate is going to be the last one before it stops.  Most devices have a mechanism to stop reporting and save the battery when stationary. These mechanisms should be employed. Contact FSN Support if you have any questions.

What causes the Device Unavailable message?

When FSNtracks reports “Device Unavailable” it means that the network knows that it cannot communicate with this device. This message could indicate that the device is not configured properly, that there is a coverage problem or the device sent a disconnect before powering off for a low battery. 
Sometimes problems can occur if a device has been off for a long time. It can take several minutes for a device to start reporting again. It is best to keep the device moving and outside.
SOLUTIONS:
  • Make certain that the device is connected to the battery and powered on. Check the lights on the device.
  • Check the coverage map for the service provider.
  • If the device is powered on, it will probably recover when back in a good coverage area.

What causes an Unknown Address message?

An Unknown Address can be reported in FWtracks because of any of the following:
  • When Request Location is sent and the device is communicating, but the device is unable to provide position. Sometimes this will be accompanied by a good battery sensor report. If you get sensor readings, it means the device is in communication with at least one cell tower but cannot get weaker GPS signals and cannot reach at least three cell towers that provide location information. 
  • When a Reporting Interval change has been requested but the device times out and the device is unable to provide position. This can be due to poor placement or poor coverage. This typically means you should ping the device to make certain it is reachable and reset the Reporting Interval. 

What is an IMEI number?

IMEI (pronounced /a??mi?/) is the International Mobile Equipment Identity, a number unique to every GSM and UMTS mobile phone. It is usually found printed on the phone underneath the battery and can also be found by dialing the sequence *#06# into the phone.

The IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network. For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call his or her network provider and instruct them to "ban" the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone useless, regardless of whether the phone's SIM is changed.

Unlike the Electronic Serial Number or MEID of CDMA and other wireless networks, the IMEI is only used to identify the device, and has no permanent or semi-permanent relation to the subscriber. Instead, the subscriber is identified by transmission of an IMSI number, which is stored on a SIM card which can (in theory) be transferred to any handset. However, many network and security features are enabled by knowing the current device being used by a subscriber.

What is the accuracy of GPS trackers?

The accuracy of a tracking device depends on the type of locate that it obtains. FSN devices employ multiple methods to determine location.

  • Satellite GPS/AGPS/AAGPS (accuracy measured in 10s of meters)
  • Forward Link Triangulation (accuracy measured in 100s of meters)
  • Cell Sector Direction and Distance (accuracy measured in 1000s of meters)
  • Cell Sector Lookup (accuracy measured in miles)

The error circle indicates the relative accuracy of the locate based on the type of locate.

Can you connect two batteries together to get longer life?

This is not recommended because the batteries have a safety circuit and can cause several problems including:

  • Less than 100% of the battery life due to two separate kickouts on the safety circuits.
  • If the batteries are different size or age, they could explode if they discharge at a different rate and the slower discharging battery has a bad safety circuit. 
  • There will be problems charging it.
  • Attempting to tie two batteries together that are not equally charged will cause both safety circuits to kick out.
If you have need for a battery with higher capacity, contact Technical Support

How do I export map positions from FSNtracks to Google?

The KML button in the FSN map toolbar can be used to export a Google KML file with the current map positions. The KML file can be opened in Google Earth or Google Maps.

  1. Click the KML button. In the window that appears, click the Download .kml file link.
  2. To open the map position in Google Earth, click Open in the dialog box that appears. You must have Google Earth installed on your computer.
  3. To open the map position in Google Maps, click Save in the dialog box that appears. Once saved to your computer, you can open the KML file in "My Maps" within Google Maps. You must have a Google Maps account.

What is the most common reason for a device not providing a location?

If a device is not providing a location upon request, it is most likely inside a building or other space and stationary. If a device is inside a building it will rarely pick up a GPS signal, and will have difficulty reaching three cell towers in order to perform a locate. If a device is moving, it is able to move into the range of more cell towers, and the device will remember the cell towers with which it communicated recently.

What is Inferred Motion?

FSNtracks, the online tracking and monitoring application, determines motion by examining the locations and using intelligent logic to determine if the device is actually moving or if it just found another cell tower or GPS from which to get a location.

What causes the date stamp to be off by hours?

CAUSE:  The date is provided by FSNtracks when it communicates with a device. The time is UT, and must be corrected for your time zone. It is the date in your time zone, as configured in your preferences, by clicking your name in the upper right. It is not the time zone of the device. 
SOLUTION:  Click on your name in the upper right of the tracking application. Make certain that the Time Zone is correct.

 

Where can I place the Enfora MiniMT?

You can covertly place the Enfora Mini MT anywhere that it can obtain a clear view of the sky. This includes placing it under the vehicle where the satellite signal is reflected back from the road. It also includes placing it anywhere it is surrounded by plastic such as under the vehicle seats or in the glove compartment.

In areas where the MiniMT has history, FSN's cellular positioning database maintains that data so that the MiniMT can work in a covert or embedded setting using cellular triangulation (but not GPS).

What are best placement practices for GPS devices?

GPS signals do not pass through heavy metals or thick glass, but cellular signals can. Radio signals can pass through fiber glass, wood, aluminum and other porous materials. Radio signals bounce so place the device where it can access open air or the most porous walls. If the walls are all heavy metal, look for areas where there are cracks or seams.

Is there a limit to the number of users a company can set up?

There is no limit on the number of users that can be set up to view a tracking device or devices.