4 Types of GNSS Simulators

Satellite navigation systems date back in the 1950s. The TRANSIT (also known as NAVSAT or NNSS), a system developed by the U.S. Navy, is the world’s first global navigation satellite system (GNSS) device. Ever since, GNSS devices have been used in a range of military operations. Recently, it’s also being used in civilian devices. The most common applications of GNSS devices are in the aviation, automotive, and marine industries. The agricultural sector also uses GNSS for field measurements and regional mapping, while the scientific world applies the system for space and environmental weather studies.

A jamming simulator is among the key machines GNSS device manufacturing and production plants should invest in. This is because there is now a range of jamming devices available that could affect the accuracy of your device. A simulator will reflect the output of these devices as much as possible and allow you to rectify common vulnerabilities in your device, which might be exploited by a jammer.

The following are among the most common GNSS jamming simulators:

Single-Channel Simulator

This is a type of full-scale RF signal simulator, which has its functionality changed to a digital field. It provides an economical and flexible solution for the simulation of GNSS jammers. Single channel simulators, also called signal generators, will simulate a signal from a satellite with an extended control over several parameters. In most cases, this simulator controls the Doppler profile of a satellite’s signal. It is generally used for conducting R&D and production tests.

Multi-Channel Simulator

Spacecraft Soyuz orbiting the earth

This is also a full-scale RF signal simulator, which comprises of multiple channels and is sometimes called as a constellation simulator. The key characteristics of a multi-channel simulator are its capability to recreate RF signals, which resemble those from your device, provision signal repeatability, and control over a user’s simulation environment. The user, in this case, should know the exact parameters they set for the device’s simulation. Multi-channel simulators are typically used in all tests during the manufacturing, designing, and post-launch phases of a device.

Pseudolite Simulators

This is a variant of a single-channel simulator, which provides an in-the-field simulation of upcoming satellite signals. It implements a frequency offset and RTCM pulsing for the confrontation of ‘’near-far’’ issues and reduces their potential effect on your receiver. Pulsing refers to a pulse-wise disruption of your device’s transmitted signal to reduce the value of a receiving signal for a non-participant receiver.

RF Replay/Recorder Simulator

This simulator collects relevant jamming data, which will be processed using a software receiver. RF replay simulators are used for GNSS devices for the aviation industry where the testing of a device’s integration with an inertial navigation system is essential. The replay feature in these simulators will help if your digital intermediate frequency (DIF) signal is inadequate and should be bypassed.

The right choice of a simulator from the above will be the crucial element, which determines how well your device can hold up to jammers. Utmost care is hence vital to guarantee you pick the best simulator to boost your device’s accuracy. These simulators undergo continuous improvement to reflect present-day jamming threats.

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