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Accelerated GNSS receiver testing with Spirent Test as a Service

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A global manufacturer of quadbikes and motorbikes wanted to improve the accuracy and performance of their in-vehicle location trackers to meet the demands of their end-users. To achieve this, they wanted to evaluate their positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) provision and identify areas for improvement to maintain their position as a world leader in delivering highly accurate all-terrain vehicles.

The manufacturer outsourced their testing needs to Spirent through the Test as a Service offering. This allowed them to leverage Spirent's PNT expertise and advanced equipment without large investment costs or up-skilling. The project conducted by Spirent consisted of three stages: 

  1. Troubleshooting: Spirent carried out tests to investigate potential flaws in the current system. Various scenarios, including RF interference and multipath conditions, were generated using the Spirent GSS7000 GNSS simulator to assess the performance of the GNSS receivers. The tests also examined how the receiver reacted when other functions, such as Bluetooth, were turned on. 

  2. Benchmarking: The second stage compared the performance of the latest GNSS receiver with previous devices. Spirent collected hours of data in the field using the GSS6450 record & playback system in different environments (rural and urban). These recordings were converted into simulation test scenarios for repeatable and controllable testing in the lab. The scenarios were then played to the devices under test, as well as an additional benchmarking receiver, using the GSS7000 GNSS simulator. 

  3. Analysis and Reporting: Spirent analyzed the reliability and accuracy of the GNSS receivers based on the results from the previous stages. They provided detailed analysis and recommendations with a high level of confidence due to the precision and realism of the GSS6450 RPS and GSS7000 simulator. The analysis covered a wide range of operating environments and conditions. 

The conclusion drawn from the testing was that the customer's original GNSS receiver was the best-performing for their use case, offering the highest precision under various conditions. It outperformed other systems in metrics such as reacquisition sensitivity, critical for traveling through areas with intermittent signal loss. However, the tests also revealed that the receiver's performance degraded when Bluetooth was enabled. Armed with this information, the customer could explore potential solutions such as antenna or receiver shielding, repositioning, or removing functions that impact PNT to enhance overall performance. 

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