I think it's no secret that GPS trackers use the internet to transmit their location information to a server or another device. Often, the consumption of internet data is a significant argument for both the average user and for companies providing GPS tracking services worldwide. After all, the cost of 1 MB in different countries can start from a fraction of a cent and reach 1 dollar.
So what does the consumption of internet traffic depend on? How to calculate it? And how can it be optimized?
Data consumption can vary greatly depending on many factors, including:
Well, let's break it down:
If we simplify greatly, 1 packet of useful raw data weighs approximately 175 bytes (from our users' experience and the experience of the Flespi team:)
Now let's imagine that for a relatively smooth track, it's necessary for the tracker to send data every 10 seconds.
Now it's easy to calculate the average consumption:
When sending every 10 seconds, there are 360 sends per hour and 8640 sends per day.
8640 sends * 175 bytes/1024 = 1478 Kilobytes = 1.478 Megabytes - this is how much the tracker consumes per day, if it continuously sends data.
However, we shouldn't forget about heartbeat packets, which maintain the connection.
They are not as large and do not need to be sent as often. But it is still worth taking them into account.
So, to prevent the connection from being lost, it is sufficient to send 1 packet every 10 minutes.
On average, a login packet weighs 1-10 bytes.
So, let's calculate: the tracker will send a packet every 5 minutes (just in case:).
288 sends per day * 5 bytes/1024 = 1.40 Kilobytes = 0.140 Megabytes per day
In total, in theory, the tracker will consume 1.6 MB per day if it sends data every 10 seconds.
As we see, the size of the packet with useful data has the greatest impact on consumption.
You can find out the size of the packet that your tracker sends in the Toolbox of your object by going to the special Traffic menu and selecting the message with useful data.
But wait, everything is not as simple as it seems!
There are a few more pitfalls that must be taken into account:
On average, if we talk about the mean values, for a location transmitted every 5 minutes over a month, about 10-30 MB of internet traffic can be spent per month even when using a regular (not IoT/M2M) SIM card. But this is a very rough estimate and actual values may vary greatly from the factors described above.
So, what recommendations can we give to reduce traffic consumption:
Keep in mind that the information in this article is general, and depending on the specific model and settings of the GPS tracker, as well as usage conditions, data consumption may vary.
It's important to understand that the topic of internet traffic in the IoT sphere will always be popular and widely discussed. There can be many additions to this topic about the peculiarities of equipment, SIM cards, and the like.
Therefore, if you have any questions, you can always reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will strive to advise you and give recommendations for the setting up and use of trackers.