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2020 Simulator Buyers Guide

March 10, 2020  - By

GPS World’s 9th annual Simulator Buyers Guide features tools, devices and software from leading providers.




CAST-5000 GPS wavefront generator, CAST-8000

Photo: CAST Navigation

Photo: CAST Navigation

The CAST-5000 produces a coherent wavefront of GPS RF signals to provide repeatable testing in the laboratory environment or anechoic chamber. The basic system generates four independent, coherent simulations that reference a single point and is configurable to support up to eight elements for CRPA testing. With an intercard carrier-phase error of less than 1 millimeter, the CAST-5000 is extremely accurate.

The system generates a wavefront of GPS when its GPS RF generator cards are operated in a ganged configuration. Each generator card provides a set of GPS satellites coherent with the overall configuration. Several RF generator cards may be utilized together, ensuring phase coherence among the bank of signal generator cards. The CRPA antenna, antenna electronics and the GPS receiver can be tested as a unit with or without radiating signals.

The CAST-8000 is a new simulator that merges the CAST-5000 CRPA tester with a CAST-3000 EGI tester. The CAST-5000/8000 has the ability to be “ganged” together with additional CAST simulators to provide multiple vehicle and/or multiple antenna test configurations.

CAST-5000 features

  • Generates single coherent wavefront of GPS
  • 6-DOF motion generation capability
  • Complete SV constellation editing
  • Post-mission processing
  • Differential/relative navigation
  • Antenna pattern modeling
  • Waypoint navigation
  • RAIM events
  • Multipath modeling
  • Spoofer simulation
  • Satellite clock errors
  • External trajectory input
  • External ephemeris and almanac
  • Several iono and tropo models
  • Modifiable navigation message
  • Modeled selective availability
  • Time-tagged satellite events
  • Selectable host vehicle parameters
  • Directional jamming

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Miniature simulator and scenario generator

Photo: Jackson Labs

Photo: Jackson Labs

The 18-channel miniature full-constellation CLAW GPS Simulator is a fully self-contained, low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) miniature GPS simulator. It is very popular in manufacturing environments as well as R&D applications that require consistent and repeatable local GNSS signals at low price points.  The CLAW simulator does not require external computers for processing and control — it works fully self-contained by simply applying power, and storing location/time/date data in internal non-volatile (NV) memory, or by storing complex vector data to simulate highly dynamic scenarios. The CLAW also can be used to transcode NMEA or SCPI position/velocity/time (PVT) data into GPS RF signals. JLT offers an easy to use, highly configurable and cost-free SimCon Windows application program that is downloadable from the JLT website.

The SimCon application allows random scenario generation and is thus usable to simulate leap-second events, week 1023 rollover events, or any other GPS live-sky scenarios including highly complex yet easy-to-create dynamic vector simulations. For authorized U.S. government users, a version that does not have altitude and velocity limitations is popular for low-Earth-orbit (LEO) simulations. Multipath simulation allows use of the entire 18-channel simulator capability. The unit can be field-upgraded with an easy to use in-field software upgrade feature. The CLAW is also very useful in GNSS receiver sensitivity testing for R&D or mass-production assembly lines as it allows accurate control of RF output power ranging from –100 dBm to less than –130 dBm with 0.1-dB resolution and typically better than 1-dB accuracy over the controllable power range.

The CLAW GPS Simulator also has a built-in RF signal generator with sweep, CW and random noise functions that are useful in simulating GNSS jamming scenarios, as well as GPS spoofing scenarios. The simulator comes in an FCC-certified metal desktop enclosure with numerous accessories.
(702) 233-1334


Essential and advanced series

The Orolia family of GNSS simulators offers a wide breadth and depth of tools for those responsible for mission-critical positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) applications. The simulation tools enable users to test a variety of scenarios, from simple to complex. Orolia’s simulators are feature-rich and easy to use, offering a way to harden GPS/GNSS-based systems without the limitations of testing from live-sky signals. Orolia’s approach allows users to buy only what they need today and upgrade later.


Photo: Orolia

Photo: Orolia

GSG 5/6. An essential scenario-based simulator used for testing a variety of smart applications such as drones, the internet of things (IoT), connected cars, cellular and more. GSG 5/6 offers ease-of-use with an out-of-the-box configuration and comprehensive set of pre-defined scenarios, plus the ability to create scenarios. It can simulate all constellations, all frequencies, and movements/trajectories anywhere on or above Earth. This enables a multitude of test solutions covering accuracies and sensitivities due to environmental conditions, technology factors and other events. Application packages are available for real-time kinematic (RTK), eCall, high-velocity, jamming and sensors.


Skydel Software Engine. The software behind Orolia’s high-end GNSS simulators: GSG-8, BroadSim, BroadSim Anechoic and BroadSim Wavefront. All share the same software-defined benefits and interoperability. In addition to Orolia’s turn-key systems, Skydel can run on the user’s own commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. It is suitable to test and validate GNSS systems for a variety of applications, with advanced signal customization and configurable outputs. Users can create advanced scenarios with multiple parameters and variables: antenna patterns, orbits, multipath, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and more. The easy-to-use API configures all aspects, available in Python, C#, C++ and LabVIEW. User interactions can be recorded and exported as executable Python script — a learning tool that drastically reduces the automation learning curve.

Photo: Orolia

Photo: Orolia

GSG-8. An advanced software-defined GNSS simulator supporting multiple constellations, frequencies and hundreds of signals all-in-view. With a 1000-Hz iteration rate, high dynamics and real-time synchronization, GSG-8 delivers ultra-high performance and flexibility. It is designed for space trajectories, custom PNT signals, HIL and more. Advanced jamming and spoofing options allow users to create benign and threat scenarios required for critical applications. Complex objects such as Differential GNSS (RTK), multi-antenna vehicles, attitude measurements and sophisticated GNSS receivers can be tested. A comprehensive software development kit (SDK) allows users to incorporate encrypted or proprietary signals. Powered by the Skydel Simulation Engine.

Photo: Orolia

Photo: Orolia

BroadSim. Available through Orolia Defense & Security, BroadSim was designed to meet the demand of NAVWAR testing. BroadSim supports high dynamics, advanced jamming and spoofing simulation tools, and encrypted military codes including Y-code, M-AES and M-MNSA. BroadSim uses a custom Linux operating system for security and better performance. BroadSim excels in NAVWAR applications due to its four independent RF outputs, a wide dynamic range with up to 0 dBm transmit power, and integrated jamming and spoofing scenario creation. BroadSim’s ease-of-use and functionality to configure multiple vehicles allows any user to seamlessly test the performance and vulnerability of their system without requiring a high level of expertise. Powered by the Skydel Simulation Engine.

Photo: Orolia

Photo: Orolia

BroadSim Anechoic. Available through Orolia Defense & Security, BroadSim Anechoic enables users to accurately simulate over-the-air (OTA) GNSS environments in their anechoic chamber. Designed from the ground up for the user, by users, the system has 32 individual RF outputs enabling it to drive 16 dual-frequency antennas. The automation of antenna mapping, time delay and power loss calibration cuts set-up time from days to minutes. Easily verify signals with a built-in spectrum analyzer. The 48-dB transmit chain amplifier and 80-dB transmit chain dial attenuator allow for complete signal control and high dynamic range. Powered by the Skydel Simulation Engine.

Photo: Orolia

Photo: Orolia

BroadSim Wavefront. Available through Orolia Defense & Security, BroadSim Wavefront enables fully featured testing of controlled reception pattern antenna (CRPA) and multi-element antenna electronic systems. Scaled upon the same easy-to-use software-defined platform and interface, it supports 4-16 antenna elements with integrated high dynamics and a phase coherence of 1° σ. Users can simultaneously simulate multiple spoofers, jammers, repeaters and alternate PNT sensors with just a few clicks. The Wavefront makes no compromise between the number of signals and the iteration rate, which remains at 1,000 Hz. It is designed to help engineers deliver results and make decisions, and can be calibrated in a matter of minutes. Powered by the Skydel Simulation Engine.

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LabSat 3 Wideband and Satgen Software

LabSat 3 Wideband

Photo: Labsat

Photo: Labsat

The LabSat 3 Wideband is a compact yet powerful multi-constellation and multi-frequency GNSS testing solution.

The easy-to-use, one-touch record and replay function provides an efficient way to test and develop GNSS-based technology without the cost and limitations of live-sky signals.

With simple-to-install upgrade options available, customers can invest with the confidence that its capabilities can grow alongside their future requirements.

LabSat 3 Wideband can record and replay up to three different channels at 56-MHz bandwidth across all major constellations and signals including:

  • GPS: L1/L2/L5
  • GLONASS: L1/L2/L3
  • BeiDou: B1/B2/B3
  • QZSS: L1/L2/L5
  • Galileo: E1/E1a/E5a/E5b/E6
  • L-band correction services including SBAS and IRNSS
  • 2x CAN, RS232 and digital inputs tightly synchronized with GNSS data
  • Future signal launches are also supported, including L2C, L5 and L1C

LabSat 3 Wideband has a removable SSD (up to 7TB) and a two-hour runtime provided by an internal battery. It is lightweight and portable, making it ideal for field testing in any environment.

SatGen Signal Simulation Software

SatGen software allows users to quickly create bespoke, accurate scenarios with their own time, location and trajectory, that can be replayed via a LabSat GNSS Simulator.

The latest version of SatGen can be used to create a single scenario containing all the upper and lower L-Band signals for GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou.

Mark Sampson, LabSat Product Manager


R&S SMW200A and R&S SMBV100B simulators

Photo: Rohde & Schwarz

Photo: Rohde & Schwarz

Precision-sensitive applications such as autonomous driving, control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or positioning of aircraft during landing procedures in coordination with ground-based augmentation systems (GBAS) require that modern GNSS receivers undergo detailed tests before implementation.

Rohde & Schwarz signal generators like the R&S SMW200A and the R&S SMBV100B offer a unique approach to generating complex and highly realistic scenarios for testing of GNSS receivers that are able to work with diverse navigational systems such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou and QZSS/SBAS signals. Both simulators can emulate them all for testing.

R&S SMW200A. The R&S SMW200A GNSS simulator (pictured above) can be used to produce complex interference scenarios with multiple interferers — all generated within the instrument itself. It can emulate up to 144 GNSS channels and can be equipped with up to four RF outputs. With its ability to simulate multi-constellation, multi-frequency, multi-antenna and multi-vehicle scenarios, the R&S SMW200A is able to cover a variety of high-end GNSS applications.

R&S SMBV100B. The R&S SMBV100B supports the same navigational systems, with access to 60 GNSS channels and one RF output, with the same ability to configure realistic scenarios including obscuration, multipath and atmospheric effects, as well as the specific characteristics of the antenna and the simulated vehicle. An integrated noise and CW interference generator also can be added.

Since the devices do not require an external PC for scenario configuration, all the tests can be created quickly through the user-friendly GUI. Due to all-encompassing instrument options available, both simulators can be set up to fit unique user requirements.

For testing GNSS receivers under controlled and repeatable conditions, the R&S SMW200A and the R&S SMBV100B provide extensive and cost-effective solutions. The platforms are ready to adapt to future requirements and testing of newly implemented GNSS signals.
+49 89 4129 12345

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GSS9000, SimMNSA, CRPA test system, anechoic chamber testing, mid-range testing

Photo: Spirent Federal

Photo: Spirent Federal

Spirent Federal provides GPS/GNSS test equipment that covers all applications, including research and development, integration/verification and production testing.

GSS9000. The enhanced GSS9000 Multi-Frequency, Multi-GNSS RF Constellation Simulator is Spirent’s most comprehensive simulation solution. It can simulate signals from all GNSS and regional navigation systems and has a system iteration rate (SIR) of 1000 Hz (1 ms), enabling higher dynamic simulations with more accuracy and fidelity. The GSS9000 supports restricted/classified signals. Users can evaluate the resilience of navigation systems to interference and spoofing attacks, and have the flexibility to reconfigure constellations, channels, and frequencies between test runs or test cases.

SimMNSA. The first fully approved MNSA M-code simulator. Authorized users of the GSS9000 series of simulators will be able to utilize the advanced capabilities of SimMNSA to create more robust solutions for their customers. SimMNSA has been granted Security Approval by the Global Positioning System Directorate.

CRPA Test System. Spirent’s Controlled Reception Pattern Antenna (CRPA) Test System generates both GNSS and interference signals. Users can control multiple antenna elements. Null-steering and space/time adaptive CRPA testing are both supported by this comprehensive approach.

Anechoic Chamber Testing. Spirent’s GSS9790 Multi-Output, Multi-GNSS RF Constellation Wave-Front Simulator System is a development of the GSS9000. The GSS9790 is a unique solution providing the core element for GNSS applications that require a test system that can be used in both conducted (lab) and radiated (chamber) conditions.

Mid-Range Solutions. Spirent also offers solutions that cater to intermediate GPS/GNSS testing needs. The GSS7000 multi-constellation simulator provides an easy-to-use solution for GNSS testing that can grow with users’ requirements. The GSS6450 RF record and playback system enables replay of a real-world GNSS/GPS test repeatedly in the lab.

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High-end GNSS simulation solutions for R&D, integration and production testing

Photo: Syntony GNSS

Photo: Syntony GNSS

Constellator. Syntony’s GNSS simulator Constellator supports all constellation signals available and provides a high level of service in different ranges. It covers, in a single unit, a wide spectrum of use cases from entry-level with L1C/A up to very demanding configurations such as multi-frequencies and 400 channels management.

Extensively used in aeronautics, space and defense industries, Constellator answers complex requirements:

  • Standalone mode (on the ground and in space)
  • Multi-frequencies
  • All constellations and their signals, including NavIC/IRNSS
  • Hardware in-the-loop (HIL) mode with zero-effective latency and 1000-Hz update rate
  • All typical synchronization interfaces

Particularly in the space industry, Constellator implements the advanced models (Earth gravity, drag, 3D ionospheric models, side lobes, etc.) needed to achieve accurate simulations for all kinds of orbits (from LEO to GEO and SSTO). Combined with other Syntony GNSS simulation products (interference generator, Recorder & Player Echo, GBAS simulator, etc.), Constellator can be used to tackle challenging use cases such as jamming, spoofing, multipath, and multiple antennas testing. Constellator is based on a software-defined radio (SDR), making it hardware-ready for future constellations, signals and codes. It is easily upgradeable and versatile.

GNSS Recorder & Player. Syntony’s Echo is an ultra-high-fidelity GNSS recording and playback solution. It is designed to capture real-life signals and environments, for instance from airplanes, and then replayed for R&D or production tests. Echo offers:

  • 3 RF channels of 100-MHz bandwidth each (for the whole set of GNSS signals from all constellations)
  • 16-bit resolution (I&Q)
  • from 7 to more than 1,000 hours of record/replay capabilities depending on configuration

Echo-R can also record complex and very long realistic scenarios from a simulator; Echo-P can replay them with very high fidelity for long-run or production tests. Please ask Chief Sales Officer Francois Goudenove for distributor contacts in the U.S., Europe, India, China, South Korea and Japan.

François Goudenove, Chief Sales Officer

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About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.