NextNav supports metropolitan beacon system for mobile

January 19, 2016  - By
Image: GPS World

The final specification for 3GPP Release 13 will include messaging support for Terrestrial Beacon System (TBS) location technologies, including the Metropolitan Beacon System (MBS).

NextNav is deploying the MBS positioning technology across the U.S. to allow mobile phones and other devices to reliably determine their location in indoor and urban environments where GPS signals can’t be received.

NextNav has adopted MBS for its nationwide deployment, which it calls an innovative “terrestrial constellation” bringing GNSS-like positioning performance to indoor and urban environments where satellite-based positioning is either unavailable or significantly degraded. By standardizing the core network information flow in 3GPP, support for MBS will become available across any Release 13-compliant LTE network platforms globally, similar to previously standardized GNSS systems such as GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo satellite signals.

NextNav’s system is complementary to GPS and delivers high precision latitude, longitude and “floor level” altitude in GPS-challenged areas such as indoors and urban locations across an entire metropolitan area. Unlike cellular positioning in LTE, MBS does not consume expensive wireless spectrum to do so.

“We are gratified, after an especially intensive effort, to see 3GPP add support for Terrestrial Beacon Systems generically and for supporting the NextNav implementation of it — the Metropolitan Beacon System,” said Ganesh Pattabiraman, president of NextNav. “This speaks to the urgent market requirements for ubiquitous, high-quality indoor positioning. MBS availability as an international standard ensures that our location signals can be used in widely deployed LTE (long-term evolution) networks as part of an end-to-end system. It also opens the doors for multi-vendor systems, a critical consideration for our carrier customers and users worldwide.”

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites seven telecommunications standard development organizations (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TSDSI, TTA, TTC) and provides their members with a stable environment to produce the reports and specifications that define 3GPP technologies.