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TUCoPS :: Phreaking Cellular - Misc. :: celltrk.txt

Methods Used to Track Cellular Phones

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As cellular telephony has advanced with wireless locating, many
emergency calls have moved to wireless media. Cellular emergency
calls cannot be traced back automatically, nor can cell-phone 
users be located when in transit. In March 1996, the FCC required
that all wireless carriers be equipped with a locating feature by
the year 2001. The wireless industry has been scrambling for a 
solution ever since. Yet, I think that is a load if BS. The FCC 
and NSA most likely have had away to track and listen to all 
cellular phones in the US sense cellular phone were invented.

Almost every wireless location technology was as originally 
conceived for defense purposes and National security purpsoes. 
The idea being to track enemy spies or criminals within US boarders
radio communications back to him or her. These strategies used to 
track them was fall into a few different tracking methods I have 
reasearded. These techniques are GPS, Triangulation, Radio Cameras
and Time Difference of Arrival tracking.

Wireless communication in wartime was based on tactical 
communications and signal processing, For this purpose, portable 
communications devices were developed that would become the ancestors
of the modern cellular handset. There is a solution to the caller 
location problem that is dependent on the Global Positioning System 
(GPS). GPS is a satellite-based technology that is used to locate you
on the suface if the earth with those GPS hand held devices and to 
help boats and airplanes navigate. 

Right now there are so many manufacturers of handsets across the
globe, That I don't care anymore about which cell manufacturers claim
are the best. Give me a Nokia and I'm set. Now that units are 
shrinking in size dramatically, and the biggest problems involved
in installing a GPS into ever-smaller handsets will make someones 
job a nightmare. Moreover, the idea of developing GPS-based locating 
technology may be doubtful in itself. While GPS works fine if one
is guiding a missile or helping a jumbo jet navigate its way across 
the ocean, using it on the ground would prove a few major problems
because the signal would be blocked by thousands of natural and 
man-made obstructions such as my aluminum hat I wear to block the 
CIA from reading my mind. Well any way...

Traditional network solutions work on the principle of 
triangulation. There are two approaches to triangulation. The 
first is based on angle of arrival, the second on time of arrival.
In a typical scenario, a communications network consists of two to 
five base stations. Finding the caller is a matter of calculating 
the callís line of bearing. Theoretically, the caller will be found
at the intersection of the two lines of the angle of arrival, which 
could be up to a 125 meters square. Time of arrival is used with at 
least three base stations. Callers are found by measuring the time 
required for the messages to be transacted. When time is translated
to distance it becomes possible to trace our line up the call to its

Triangulation is a step up from GPS, but here again a clear line of
sight is imperative for the process to be effective. The trouble
is that most of today's cellular traffic is generated in big cities 
with massive permanent structures all around.

U.S. Wireless has created a solution that overcomes the line-of-sight
problems associated with GPS and triangulation. "Radio Cameras" a 
PC-sized locator that is deployed downtown and in rural places where 
a small number of stations are available. The boxes are installed at 
base stations throughout their operational area. There they go 
through a "learning" process, by which calls are identified and 
"fingerprinted" based on their location.

Every call received by the base station gets a location-fingerprint 
which the camera recognizes down the road. This solution overcomes 
the line of sight problems that you get with GPS-dependent locating 
technology and triangulation. Because a Radio Camera is not 
triangulating but fingerprinting, it does not require the cooperation
of two or three bases.

The Radio Camera technology also exceeds the limit for accuracy
stated by the FCC ruling. To meet the FCC's requirement, location
must be accurate up to 125 meters. Radio cameras are accurate to 20 
to 40 meters, which is four or five times more accurate that the rule 
requires. This is not a bonus but a necessity. If you're chasing down
criminal or some PLA kid with a stolen cell, you need to get as close
to the mark as possible to make an arrest.

Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) measures the time required for a 
signal to travel from a handset to a base station. When this process 
is duplicated three or four times, it provides the data needed to 
perform a mathematical process known as hyperbolic trilateralization.
Similar to triangulation, trilateralization works with very 
high-speed measurements. Because it works in nanoseconds, the process
provides extremely accurate location information that can be used to 
track vehicles in motion, or someone making a call in a sky scraper.

Welp, that all I can write about methods of cellular tracking right 
now. But, I have been reading about this tracking method called 
MicroBurst. All I know right now is that a trucking company in the 
US uses it to for position tracking of their trucks. 

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