Expert Opinions: Optimum number of GNSS signals for PNT device

February 22, 2016  - By
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Q: What is the optimum number of GNSS signals to include/process in a consumer-grade PNT device?

Daniel Ammann Executive Vice President u-blox Group

Daniel Ammann
Executive Vice President
u-blox Group

A: The cost for including additional silicon to a receiver for processing more signals is low, thanks to multiplexing hardware and high clock speeds. Having more satellite measurements allows the receiver to be selective about which ones it actually uses for PVT calculations, so a number of 30 or higher is desirable. Such a high number, and especially if the signals come from multiple constellations, enables the receiver to have a good view on integrity, too.


Gian Gherardo Calini Head of Market Development European GNSS Agency

Gian Gherardo Calini
Head of Market Development
European GNSS Agency

A: The answer depends on application and environment where the device will be used. With the increasing need for ubiquitous positioning in difficult environments like urban canyons, the minimum number of satellites from one constellation is not sufficient. The technology makes it possible today to achieve better performance using multiple constellations with low impact on power consumption, and this is where we see the future.


Chaminda Basnayake Principal Engineer Renesas Electronics

Chaminda Basnayake
Principal Engineer
Renesas Electronics

A: Demand for more accuracy, availability, and reliability will drive design evolution. Sensor/map augmentations will likely drive system availability while depending on GNSS for better accuracy and reliability. As accuracy is a function of measurement quality and sky view — with the latter fixed for most use cases — placing more emphasis on minimizing errors appears ideal. Therefore, I see dual-constellation, dual-frequency GNSS as the optimal combination and the right balance between complexity versus performance.

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