The Importance of Time to First Fix

Time to first fix is a crucial performance parameter for any satellite navigation system because it is the first and most easily appreciated evidence that the end user will have of the quality of the receiver. When you consider that this applies equally to potential users trying out receivers in the shop and to users maintaining satisfaction with the systems they have bought, then a few seconds here and there can make the difference between a happy customer and one that buys your competitor's product.

But how can you be sure that your receivers TTFF is optimized for best performance? Clearly, you test it. And you can even run the same tests on your competitor’s products. But (and here's the rub) be sure that you are running exactly the same tests on each piece of equipment. That means having the receivers in the same position, the satellites in the same position, identical atmospheric conditions etc – otherwise comparisons are meaningless.

So while the performance you are trying to assess will be felt by the user in the real world, there are so many factors that impact on receiver performance that it is close to impossible to make meaningful comparisons using real-world testing.

Using Spirent's constellation simulators under controlled laboratory conditions is the best way to ensure that products are tested with a level playing field. What's more, the ability to run a near infinite number of test scenarios reproducible under software control on multiple receivers will provide ample evidence that your products will outperform the competition under all manner of conditions.


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