Changing Wireless Rules Affect RTK01/18/2018
The focus going forward will be on 4G LTE and eventually 5G technologies. Farmers who turned to cellular RTK correction in the past few years may find their systems rely on the older standards. “What these companies are saying is that they’re not turning off the services until 2019, but we are seeing that they’re phasing out the service in some market areas,” says Tom Foley, president and CEO, Intuicom, a maker of cellular communication equipment used in precision ag applications.
Foley explains that for farmers who turn their service on and off, there could be a surprise soon — perhaps as early as this season — where you won’t be able to turn that service back on. It’s common for cellular RTK accounts to be part-timers for use on those networks. “We know 2019 is a long way off, but if you turn that device off next fall, it may not turn on the next year,” Foley says.
In the past year, Foley says cellular RTK has been well-adopted, and that the RTK Bridge his company offers even allows for the farmer to have Wi-Fi in the cab for using the tractor or combine as a hot spot for accessing the internet. That has value for systems that allow you to move information from a machine to the cloud for future data management.
“With our system, you can get better connectivity than over your cellphone for a Wi-Fi hot spot, because we designed the product for this purpose and use a higher-gain external antenna system,” Foley says. “This can be a communication hub for the farmer.”
With the faster-changing world of wireless connectivity, the idea of a third-party source for that correction signal might make sense. “In the beginning, all the manufacturers started to build their own cellular modems,” Foley says. “But they’ve found really quickly that it’s difficult to keep up with changing systems and certifications.”
He says that Intuicom works well with all brands of ag guidance, and can provide the RTK signal farmers need for those precision ag systems that lean on the wireless network. If your system relies on the 1G/2G/3G spectrum for correction, you may want to consider a modem upgrade.
Foley notes that his company is offering a trade-in credit to help farmers upgrade. The RTK Bridge-X Trade-in Program lets users earn a $500 trade-in credit on any 4G LTE RTK Bridge-X when trading in any existing Intuicom RTK Bridge-M, Bridge-C, Intuicom 3G RTK Bridge-X, Trimble DCM-300, Sierra Wireless GX450, Sierra Wireless Raven Airlink, or Digi Connect. Other modems may qualify.
Learn more at intuicom.com.
Source: Willie Vogt, Delta Farm Press