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How do pet trackers work?

Before delving into the available tracking technologies, it is important to address the myth of Hollywood-driven Microchip GPS implants that do not exist in reality. Real-time tracking GPS implants do not currently exist and are not anticipated to be developed anytime soon due to the technical challenges involved. The required components for a real-time GPS tracker cannot feasibly be designed and miniaturized into a rice-sized implant at this point in time.

Three common technologies used in regular households for locating or identifying pets. (Excludes UHF Dog hunting trackers)

  • Microchip implants (RFID Chips)
  • Radio Frequency 2.4GHZ (Zigbee)
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) & GSM

Microchip implants – This is the most common method of pet repatriation in the market today. Why? Simple, if your pet goes missing and ends up at a vet clinic, animal shelter or SPCA, they will simply scan to see if the pet has a microchip. If your pet has been chipped and registered they will look it up on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR) to obtain your contact details, and be able to contact you with the good news of your pet is found.

However, our friends at the NZCAR, the largest micro-chipped animal repatriation database in New Zealand receive calls all the times from pet owners on tracking down their lost pets. Unfortunately RFID does not transmit any type of GPS data, it is simply a hidden digital address label.

So why have a Microchip implanted? Because it is almost irremovable and will help locate your lost pet back to you should it be found by SPCA or your local vet. But question is, what if your pet goes missing and is never found? What if you could find your pet before it’s too late? This is where other types of tracking technology come into play.

Radio Frequency 2.4GHZ (Zigbee)Ideal for pets who primarily stay indoors or venture short distances, Radio Frequency (RF) tracking technology operates through a tracking remote and tag system. The remote emits RF signals to locate the tag affixed to the pet's collar, indicating the user's proximity by signal strength. RF trackers typically function within a 500-meter range in direct line of sight, though obstruction like buildings or terrain can significantly reduce this distance.

Combining a Microchip implant with an RF tracker is a cost-effective solution for owners of pets that stay within close proximity, improving the chances of swift retrieval. RF trackers, weighing as little as 4.2 grams, are particularly suitable for smaller pets such as kittens where traditional GPS trackers may be cumbersome.

Global Positioning System (GPS) & GSM
Similar to a smartphone, a GPS tracker relies on GPS and GSM signals to function. In essence, a GPS tracker can be likened to a smartphone for your pet, with both requiring separate SIM cards for operation. Additionally, real-time GPS trackers necessitate the presence of five key components to operate efficiently. Therefore, the concept of a GPS tracking implant for pets remains nonexistent, given the need for substantial hardware integration.

  • GPS Antenna: Installed for receiving GPS coordinates from satellites
  • GSM Antenna: Utilized to establish a connection with local telecommunication towers
  • GSM SIM Card: Used for transmitting location data through telecommunication towers
  • Processing Board: Responsible for data processing and management
  • Battery: Provides power supply to the aforementioned components

As you may have noticed, a GPS tracker functions similarly to a smartphone but lacks a screen and other features. However, like a smartphone, updates may be unavailable in areas without cellphone coverage or GPS signals, such as indoors or undercover.

The Petrek journey:

In 2011, Lintek began developing a scaled-down tracker, one-fifth the size of its original asset GPS trackers, for smartphones to receive location updates. This innovation led to the creation of the Petrek LT-903G, a basic call and text location device providing Google map links to approximate locations.

The Petrek GPS (LT-905G) was launched the next year, introducing an app-based GPS tracker with automatic reporting intervals. The device was developed with the assistance of a student from Saint Kentigern College in New Zealand. Subsequently, the Petrek 3G and GPS-4 were developed in the following years, establishing themselves as the leading pet trackers in New Zealand.

GPS trackers provide various advantages as well as disadvantages, including increased power consumption and the requirement for frequent charging. Moreover, location precision depends on GPS signals, resulting in inaccuracies indoors or in areas with limited coverage. In 2024, 13 years after the debut of the initial Petrek model, the new HomeZone Wifi marks a significant advancement in minimizing inaccuracies once the device returns indoors.

Lintek's Petrek GPS trackers operate independently from monthly subscriptions or contractual obligations, taking on a prepaid phone model with an annual $20 SIM card fee and, commencing in 2022, a $15 USD Google map app cost.

Conclusion -
All technologies currently available in the Petrek range have unique features for locating and preventing pets from getting lost. Visit our FAQ page for detailed answers to commonly asked questions.

Keep in mind that pet trackers are not perfect; choose the one that best fits your needs and preferences for your pet. While Lintek cannot guarantee your pet's safety, our solutions aim to minimize the risk of losing your pet.
Visit our FAQ page for further information.

Lintek does not offer a guarantee that a tracking device cannot be lost due to various factors. All Lintek tracking devices are purchased and used at the user's own risk, and Lintek will not be held liable for any loss-related issues.