PeopleNet is adding satellite communications to its wireless network services, by way of a partnership with Iridium. PeopleNet is a provider of onboard communications and truck fleet-management systems in North America. Iridium operates privately owned commercial satellites. Adding satellite to PeopleNet's existing wireless capability allows the company to serve fleets that operate in areas without wireless coverage, including remote areas of the U.S. and Canada, the company said. In addition, PeopleNet fleets deploying the Iridium option will be qualified to do business with shippers that require satellite. Such shippers might include the U.S. Department of Defense and companies that deal in dangerous or valuable products. Iridium satellite communications, through PeopleNet, will be available on a dual-mode basis on installed vehicles. PeopleNet's onboard system will communicate over the vendor's wireless network where it is available, but switch to Iridium mobile satellite services where it is not. The system will always choose the least-cost option, which changes automatically in a manner that is imperceptible to the driver. Fleet managers will be able to select which kinds of data can or cannot be transmitted by satellite. The Iridium option can be deployed across a fleet or installed on individual units within a PeopleNet fleet. Iridium's 66 low-earth orbiting satellites operate as a fully meshed network and are supported by multiple in-orbit spares.
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