How to Test Your GNSS Receivers

How to Test Your GNSS Receivers

Satellites for global navigation have become an integral part of our lives. Whether a fitness tracker plotting your daily run or a military operation in the desert, these systems play an important role in ensuring we know exactly where we are at all times.

Reliance on these trackers means we need to make sure our GNSS receivers provide accurate data at all times, especially for those used in safety and military situations.

It’s easy to understand why to test your system, and there are many ways to improve position accuracy for GNSS navigation. But what is the best way to do it and what should you test for? Let’s take a look at the most cost-effective way — satellite simulation.

Understanding GNSS Simulation

While you could run your test using real satellite signals, you sacrifice a lot of control in an effort to get real-world effects. It can be challenging to repeat a test precisely as conditions constantly change, which means relying on results you only got one time. Replicating certain conditions, like high altitudes, can be difficult as well.

Using GNSS simulation instead means you can be certain you test the necessary conditions, locations, and times exactly the same way as many times as needed. The simulator puts out a test signal that mimics satellite signals and the real-world effects your receiver would encounter daily. Your test can be as simple or complex as you need to ensure the receiver’s accuracy.

There are two GNSS testing methodologies used in a simulation. Depending on the receiver, you can either send signals over the air using an antenna or create a direct physical connection using a cable.

What To Test For

Your test plan should include scenarios specific to your receiver’s real-world use. In addition, almost all receivers should run through some basic tests. These include:

  • Time to first fix
  • Position accuracy
  • Timing accuracy
  • Sensitivity
  • Errors and impairments
  • Jamming and spoofing

Depending on what you rely on your position system for, you should develop your own test cases to account for different situations. Any testing done by the manufacturer might include the basics, but not cover all your specific needs.

Your tests should vary to cover as many different frequency combinations as you can. This is more critical if you operate globally and in locations with different satellite networks. As more countries establish their own GNSS systems, the number of combinations you have to consider testing increases.

Your test plan should also cover your primary operating environment, which could be on the ground, in the air, or in space. For ground and air equipment, satellite availability and multipath performance become key tests, along with various interference.

Test Your GNSS Receivers Soon

Not all GNSS receivers are involved in life-and-death situations, but they should get regular testing to ensure they provide the accurate daae you expect. A testing plan for your GNSS modular receiver should cover the various frequency combinations it might encounter, as well as position and timing factors.

Now that you know about GNSS receiver testing, take some time to check out other articles on our site related to business technology subjects.

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