I am trying to build a device than can be tracked through the cellular network. Like a phone, for every few second the device will ping its identity to near by cell tower, which will inform the Mobile switching central (MSC) which cell the device was in. After that, if a more precise location is required, then we will use triangulation.

But how much power will be consumed each time it ping through near by cell?


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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, it depends. \$\endgroup\$ – Vladimir Cravero May 19 '15 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it depends on many things. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka May 19 '15 at 9:01

Here's how you can get a lower bound for the power used to stay on the network:

A basic cellphone might be specified with a 700 hour standby life, and it has an 1100 mAh battery. That's a power of 5.7 mW, pretty low!

You can bet that time is measured on only a 2G network, with a very strong signal, in a chamber where there's only one cell so no handing over, with no calls or data flowing, and of course the screen turned off.

In a real world environment, switching between 2G and 3G, moving between cells, with a weak signal, it will probably use between 10 and 100 times as much power. So it depends...


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