If you are old enough to remember the days of the Citizen’s Band (CB) radio then you also know that networking is not a new concept for most truck drivers. Long before access to the Internet became more widespread, truck drivers were communicating through the use of a CB radio so much so that CB radios became a craze in the early 1970s for automobile owners as well. Instead of a user name like you have on the Internet you had a handle which you used to identify yourself during CB radio communications.
Truckers used CB radios to communicate within a convoy, develop friendships, and communicate with other truckers for weather information, road conditions, good places to stop, and other information that could be gleaned from networking with other truck drivers.
So how has the increased availability of high speed Internet changed the truck driving industry and what are some of the ways the truck drivers access and use wireless Internet?
Wireless Internet Access for Truck Drivers
There are an endless number of options available when it comes to wireless Internet access for truck drivers who are constantly on the road. The following information will provide you with a few methods that truck drivers use to access the Internet:
- WiFi Enabled Truck Stops: The majority of truck stops are now equipped with wireless Internet regardless if they are located in a high traffic area or a remote location. Wireless Internet connectivity can be achieved using a satellite connection, DSL, or via 3G or 4G technologies depending upon the location. This allows truck drivers to access the Internet at virtually every stop which helps to maintain constant communication with your company. Many truck drivers use wireless Internet at truck stops to submit necessary documents to their company, communicate with shipping and receiving sources, and file other documentation that is necessary while traveling on the road.
- WiFi Enabled Mobile Devices: Truck drivers can also access the Internet via their mobile device carrier while on the road. While some companies supply you with a 3G mobile device other truck drivers will stay connected through their personal device. If there is more than one driver hauling a load of goods, a MiFi router can be used to allow both drivers to stay connected during the trip for an extra monthly cost through the mobile phone carrier.
- Direct Satellite: Some companies will provide their truck drivers with their own direct link to a high speed broadband connection. This means that you can access the wireless Internet connection which is funded by the company where you are employed. The way it works is the company establishes a strategic partnership with the satellite Internet provider which permits the employees of the company to have direct access to a wireless Internet connection while traveling on the road. The service is delivered to truck drivers for an agreed upon amount between the Internet provider and the trucking company.
- Public WiFi: Depending upon the area, truck drivers also can access public WiFi connections just as you do when you stop at the local coffee shop or other public venue. This means that you do not have to find a truck stop in order to obtain wireless Internet. Instead, you can make a stop wherever there is public WiFi and use your mobile device to access the Internet.
Prior to the availability of wireless Internet truck drivers either communicated over their CB radio or they were required to pay a fee at truck stops for the use of a phone line. The phone line then connected them to the Internet via a slow dialup connection which created a multitude of hassles when communicating with and forwarding documentation to the trucking company.
How Wireless Internet Has Changed the Trucking Industry
The increased availability of wireless Internet has not only changed the trucking industry it has also changed the actual trucking experience for truck drivers who face a lot of hours on the road without a lot of social interaction. First, let’s take a look at how wireless Internet has changed the trucking industry.
- Communications: Although truck drivers could communicate with CB and short wave radios the conversations were often brief which made it difficult for fleet communications to make accurate decisions. With the availability of wireless Internet truck drivers are now important components in the chain of communications since they can forward important data back to the fleet control center on a more consistent basis. This allows for accurate GPS fleet tracking that is transmitted back to a website which makes fleet management much more efficient and accurate.
- Weather and Road Conditions: By using reporting in real time truck drivers can stay on top of existing road conditions associated with inclement weather, traffic delays due to accidents and construction sites, and other hazardous conditions that can delay the delivery of goods or pose a safety threat to the driver, the truck, or its contents. This keeps the drivers safe while saving companies money that would otherwise be spent when assets are lost as a result of hazardous conditions.
- Compliance Updates: The availability of wireless Internet provides a way for truck drivers to stay informed of compliancy updates associated with their profession. Instead of relying on hearsay, you can access reliable resources that help you to stay on top of important changes that come directly from authoritative agencies such as the Comprehensive Safety Analysis and other government agencies that monitor the transport of goods across the globe.
In terms of changing the personal experience when you are a truck driver, the availability of wireless Internet offers the opportunity to stay more connected with family and friends while you are on the road. Instead of driving for long stretches of road with no one to talk to, there are many ways to stay connected using wireless Internet.
- Participating in Social Networking for Truckers: There are many places online where you can communicate with other truck drivers such as forums, chat rooms, and other resources which allow truck drivers to communicate with one another. Truck drivers are no longer restricted to limited conversations on the CB radio. Instead, you can communicate with one individual or many simultaneously when it comes to road conditions, news you have heard related to your profession, roadside inspections, and other concerns related to truck driving.
- VoIP: If you are away from your family and friends for an extended period of time you can take advantage of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications using a high speed wireless Internet connection and a program such as Skype. This allows you to connect with those close to you in a face-to-face communication while you are on the road.
- Networking with Other Professionals: With the number of professional networking sites online you can connect with prospective employers, network in professional trucking forums, and keep up with the latest developments in the truck driving profession. Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are perfect for keeping in touch with other professionals and prospective employers.
With wireless Internet for truckers the truck has now become the driver’s office providing them with a better chance of being more productive than in the past. New technology and new wireless venues are popping up all the time which makes wireless Internet a trucker’s newest best friend for staying connected out on the road.