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5G promises deeper connections

July 28, 2022  - By
Orolia developed the Skydel GSG-8, a PNT test solution in its GSG family of simulators, to deliver GNSS signal testing and sensor simulation performance in an easy to use, upgradable and scalable platform. (Photo: Orolia)

Orolia developed the Skydel GSG-8, a PNT test solution in its GSG family of simulators, to deliver GNSS signal testing and sensor simulation performance in an easy to use, upgradable and scalable platform. (Photo: Orolia)

We discussed complementary PNT with Erik Oehler, marketing director at Orolia.

What are some of the most promising approaches to complementary PNT and how does simulation technology help?

5G is the most promising for the future. I believe the benefits in infrastructure, speed, precision, reliability, and the industry incentives 5G offer are superior to GNSS. Alternative signals of opportunity and new commercial satellite-based providers are always valuable as extra layers of resilience. However, PNT from 5G is not quite ready yet. There will be a transition period during which systems use GNSS and these signals of opportunity simultaneously, so simulation enables receivers of any complementary signal to be tested in the same environments and with the same potential threats faced by primary constellation signals.

How does Orolia fit in that mix?

Orolia has the most atomic clocks in orbit, including those aboard the Galileo constellation. We integrate anti-jam antennas and build Interference Detection and Mitigation (IDM) into our products. We partner with companies that offer alternative signals, such as STL from Satelles. Our SecureSync NTP and PTP time servers live in the world’s biggest data centers and support encrypted signals, such as M and Y code for our militaries. We innovate with industry leaders such as Meta on building a better PCIe Time Card. We offer edge time servers with the ability to automatically add Hoptroff’s Traceable Time as a Service. If 5G PNT becomes a standard, we are already providing industry leaders such as Anritsu with solutions for acceptance testing on a major carrier’s backbone. With our pending acquisition by Safran and access to a world-leading portfolio of INS components, we are one of the most qualified companies in the world to solve nearly any PNT challenge.

What kinds of complementary PNT are most useful in addressing specifically the challenges posed by jamming and spoofing, and how does simulation help?

In two technical notes published by NIST, they recognize STL as one of four recommended solutions for PNT resilience and the only one being both independent of GNSS and capable of sub-microsecond accuracy. Being closer to Earth, it is a stronger signal, making it 1,000 times less susceptible to jamming. Additionally, because it is encrypted it is inherently immune to spoofing. The aforementioned Hoptroff TTaS is time delivered over VPN, removing the outside environment component completely. For positioning and navigation, the integration of an IMU provides a contiguous PNT solution even during periods of GNSS denial, analogous to how an atomic clock provides precise time holdover during these denial periods. Combined with anti-jam antenna technology and IDM software, a robust PNT solution is always available.

Simulation helps by (1) identifying the vulnerabilities your PNT system might have (or could have in the future to evolving threats) and (2) verifying the total integrated resilient system. Our GSG-8 Advanced GNSS Simulator supports hundreds of GNSS full spectrum signals, custom signals, and hardware-in-the-loop testing of integrated IMUs at up to 1000 Hz iteration rate. Our Skydel Wavefront and Anechoic simulators can verify the most complex GNSS anti-jam antenna systems.

About the Author:


Matteo Luccio possesses 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at mluccio@gpsworld.com or 541-543-0525.

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