Invoxia LongFi GPS tracker review: It uses helium hotspots to locate your valuables


GPS tracker has It has been part of the mainstream for decades, so much so that you can find dozens of products at mass market retailers for less than $100. However, GPS tracking is still not as simple and seamless as you see in spy movies. If you want them to last for more than a few weeks and require an expensive monthly service plan to work properly, the device requires a bulky additional battery. If you just want to rest assured that your car can be found if it is stolen-or if your child is not taken home before the curfew-GPS tracking can become a costly job.

Enter Invoxia LongFi Tracker, which is a simple device that provides many of the same features as GPS tracking, but with longer battery life (up to four months on a single charge) and no monthly service fees.

The secret of this new tracker is that it is compatible with Helium LongFi network, An interesting point-to-point wireless system that rewards people Helium (HNT) cryptocurrency When they set up and manage compatible hotspots. The LongFi network is a turning point of LoRaWAN (Long-distance Wide Area Network, which is said to provide 200 times the Wi-Fi range). It operates on the unlicensed 902-928 MHz frequency band in the United States and is designed for low bandwidth and long distance. Range transmission.

Typical uses of LoRa include door sensors, actuators (such as garage door openers), and device tracking-all these things don’t need to send anything except occasionally sending pings to the network. LongFi adds the blockchain to the mix, so whenever a compatible hotspot receives and processes one of the pings, it adds a time and location tag to its blockchain. Over time, hotspot operators processing these blockchain transactions earn HNT equivalent to the amount of work done by their hotspots.

However, these have nothing to do with Invoxia’s trackers. It just uses the LongFi network as the backbone network for sending location data. You will not earn any HNT from buying or using Invoxia devices, but when you pass a compatible hotspot, the owner will. It turns out that there are many such things around: more than 130,000 at the time of writing this article.You can see where they are Convenient map(It is also important to note that if you are nearby, the device will periodically carry your smartphone’s location service to update its whereabouts. This will be described in detail later.)

hide and seek

You can put Invoxia’s equipment wherever you want to track-your car, bag, guitar case.

Photo: Invoxia

There is nothing special about the device itself-a small plastic rectangle with no buttons or switches, and only a micro USB port for charging. It is easily confused with a USB power bank or (my daughter’s) e-cigarette pen, although the inclusion of a small strap adds a sense of style to the matter.

All functions of Invoxia tracker are handled through its mobile app. To use it, you just need to plug in the device to start charging, and then connect to it using the in-app Bluetooth. The system will ask you several questions, such as what you want to track (such as a car or backpack) and how often you want it to check its location. This can vary from standard (every 10 to 14 minutes) to high (every 2 to 4 minutes), which will affect accuracy and battery life. The built-in tilt sensor can also detect and alert you, for example, whether the motorcycle you are tracking has overturned.

I tested this device in my car for a few weeks and took Invoxia to use the tool around the Bay Area. I doubted whether it was of any use-there are no helium hotspots within my home, and there are only a few towns in which I live-but I was immediately surprised to see its in-app map. My trip grew with each trip. I took NS.

Use Helium LongFi for location tracking.

Christopher Null via LongFi Tracker

However, after a week of testing, I realized that my luck was largely due to Invoxia’s use of my mobile phone’s location service instead of directly using the Helium network. I turned off the bluetooth on my phone, and my movements quickly stopped in a few days. It was not until I ventured into more urban areas, including the heart of San Francisco, that the system started recording location information. They are quite few and far apart, and far less than what the Helium map suggests. Most importantly, Invoxia works well in populated areas with more Helium hotspots (or if your phone is nearby), but don’t expect to generate a minute-by-minute log of your route 66 road trip.

Although individual data points may be partially missing, the overall picture drawn by the system over time is valid. The map view is fun, and it’s easy to zoom in to a day or step back to see the movement of the past six months. If you need more detailed resolution, Invoxia has also made a tracker that uses a cellular network as its backbone, but this comes at the cost of battery life.

The battery life of this non-cellular version seems to be stable. In my test, the device had 88% remaining after one week of use with the highest frequency update settings. It’s also worth noting that if you have a spare USB port in your car, you can keep the Invoxia tracker plugged in without worrying about the battery.

The tracker sells for $129 and provides three years of service (after that, the company says you can renew the service plan at a reasonable cost). Considering the cost of subscription, this is much less than classic GPS trackers. Although the resolution is not perfect, it is sufficient to track your valuables extensively. If helium takes off and becomes a global phenomenon, the prospects of the device will only get better.


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