GPS Tracking with RavTrack versus cellular GSM or GPRS

Most GPS vehicle tracking systems use a “cellular” wireless telephone carrier system to collect position information from the fleet in the field and transport that information back to headquarters.  You may see acronyms such as GSM or GPRS describing the system.  The RavTrack system uses a very different approach, that of local user-based radio.

These two approaches will often appeal to different types of users. However, one thing is clear: if RavTrack can meet your needs it is by far the superior choice over cellular.  Here are some of the most common reasons why (read on for details!).

gps tracking cellular versus radio

Download this table as EXCEL file: right-click here.  

Total cost of ownership

Every cellular system has recurring service fees, typically on a per vehicle per month basis. The RavTrack system incurs no monthly fees. Consider how long you will want to utilize a tracking system. Likely you will want it for years (forever) and you should recognize that once you have RavTrack installed you will be free from additional monthly expenses.  In some cases it may cost more to initially purchase and install a radio-based solution versus a cellular system, but over several years time it can cost much less, even if the monthly fees the operators charge are not very high.

Also, RavTrack protects your tracking system from budget cuts. If you determine RavTrack and the celluar systems both cost the same over 2-3 years, RavTrack is the only one of the two systems you know you can keep. If you are forced to cut your budget next year or later, then your cellular system, and any investment you have made is at risk. RavTrack is not at risk.


RavTrack will provide very frequent and very fast updates – both are important. With RavTrack you can monitor the vehicle fleet in very frequent intervals.  How does this compare to the cellular system?  Perhaps you feel frequent updates are unimportant, but if later things change can the cellular system even provide these faster updates?  If so, do the monthly charge increase? The answer is almost certainly, ‘yes’!

RavTrack updates are not only frequent but fast as well. When a vehicle sends the current position with the RavTrack system you can receive this position right away (as fast as once per second – try the radio system calculator for details).  Most cellular systems will take 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or even several minutes before the operator receives the position report from the vehicle or charge extra fees for faster reporting rates.

All of these factors are important to operations that serve in emergencies such as police, fire, and ambulance.


With RavTrack you can track fleets, including water and aircraft as well as personnel from other vehicles or mobile posts. Any Raveon GPS radio that comprise the RavTrack solution can receive location information directly from the other vehicles or personnel, and with a suitable display can see the other members on a map in real time. Even personnel on foot can be provided a hand-held display. Practically no other system provides this capability. This is an important benefit to supervisors in the field or any time teams need to work together. You do not lose this capability, nor general tracking capabilities if part or all of your fleet travels into an area where cellular service is not available.


The cellular service is a shared service used both for voice and data. Any high demand or peak use of the cellular system, either at a single receiver or on the system overall, such as can be caused by a disaster or just a popular event, can overwhelm the cellular system and may cause the system to be too overloaded to be useful for tracking.  Often, this occurs when you need your tracking capabilities most. The RavTrack system is dedicated to your fleet and not subject to peak use concerns. We work with some of the best companies in the world, as well as government agencies such as the FAA. View our customers page, for more.


RavTrack messages can be encrypted with 128 bit AES, making them indecipherable to outside parties. Furthermore, RavTrack data is stored only on the customer devices and not available to unauthorized users, including those that might be in a 3rd party data center.

Powerful Tracking Software

true realtime gps tracking - video tutorialRavTrack PC software is extremely rich with features, unmatched by most other software packages. RavTrack provides extensive geofences, rules, and alarm capabilities.  RavTrack PC enables sophisticated user security measures to ensure only authorized users have access to important information, and features in depth historical logging, playback, and reporting capabilities. You can watch a 5 Minute video summarizing the RavTrack features here.


As the customer you are always in control of the RavTrack system and can add, delete, and change whenever you need.  You do not have to submit a request to a vendor and wait for the vendor to perform (or mis-perform) on either routine on uncommon requests.  Furthermore, as a RavTrack software implementation is specific to each customer and not shared, we are capable of providing you something unique or special to meet your individual needs, and do not need to be concerned about a specific change affecting other parties.


With RavTrack you are not limited to the map your vendor provides.  Almost any map can be converted into a RavTrack map, including aerial photographs!  Choose the map or view that best meets your needs, when you need it.  If your environment changes RavTrack allows you to bring in the latest map with the latest data, providing uncompromised adaptability. To learn more about how the RavTrack system is organized, view the asset tracking infographic.


Raveon’s GPS Radio Series is supported by more than a dozen other software packages from parties other than Raveon, giving you far more choices than any other system on the market. And the radio’s protocol can easily be adapting by other solutions (often within one day). Most cellular systems provide only one software option.

The RavTrack system includes devices for both vehicles as well as personnel.  Most other systems only provide equipment to track vehicles. We offer a webinar to discuss the options available. Sign up today.

 To watch a two-Minute video to see RavTrack in action click here!