What is a GNSS Simulator?

We sometimes get carried away into thinking everyone must know what a GNSS simulator is but in reality the proliferation of GPS / GNSS applications into many aspects of technology in such a short time span means that some people have had very little experience with GPS / GNSS technologies. So for those non-experts out there, I’d like to help. A GNSS simulator is a signal generator that provides an effective and efficient means of testing GNSS receivers and the systems that rely on them. A GNSS simulator provides control over the signals generated by GNSS constellations and over the global test environment all within a box, so that testing can be conducted in controlled laboratory conditions. GNSS simulators generate the same kinds of signals transmitted by GNSS satellites, thus GNSS receivers process the simulated signals in exactly the same way as signals from actual satellites.

A GNSS simulator provides a superior alternative for testing compared to using actual GNSS signals in a live environment. Unlike live testing, testing with simulators provides full control of the simulated satellite signals and the simulated environmental conditions. With a GNSS simulator, users can easily generate and run many different scenarios for diverse kinds of tests, with complete control over

  • Date, time, and location. Simulators generate GNSS constellation signals for any location and time. Scenarios for any location around the world or in space, with different times in the past, present, or future, can all be tested without leaving the laboratory.
  • Vehicle motion. Simulators model the motion of the vehicles containing GNSS receivers, such as aircraft, ships, or automobiles. Scenarios involving vehicle dynamics for different routes and trajectories anywhere in the world can all be tested without moving the equipment being tested.
  • Environmental conditions. Simulators model effects that impact GNSS receiver performance, such as atmospheric conditions, obscurations, multipath reflections, antenna characteristics, and interference signals. Various combinations and levels of these effects can all be tested in the same controlled laboratory environment.
  • Signal errors and inaccuracies. Simulators provide control over the content and characteristics of GNSS constellation signals. Tests can be run to determine how equipment would perform if various GNSS constellation signal errors occurred.

Hopefully that brief overview helped but if you want more information on how Spirent’s range of GNSS simulators can help you, visit our website or contact us.

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