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What is a GPS RF simulator?
A GPS simulator provides an effective and efficient means to test GPS receivers and the systems that rely on them. A GPS simulator emulates the environment of a GPS receiver on a dynamic platform by modelling vehicle and satellite motion, signal characteristics, atmospheric and other effects, causing the receiver to actually navigate according to the parameters of the test scenario. A GPS receiver will process the simulated signals in exactly the same way as it would those from actual GPS satellites.
Our GPS simulators provide a superior alternative for testing, compared to using actual GPS 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 GPS simulator, testers can easily generate and run many different test scenarios for different kinds of tests, with complete control over:


  • Date, time, and location. Simulators generate GPS 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 GPS receivers, such as aircraft, ships, spacecraft or land vehicles. Scenarios with vehicle dynamics, for different routes and trajectories anywhere in the world, can all be tested without actually moving the equipment being tested.


  • Environmental conditions. Simulators model effects that impact GPS receiver performance, such as atmospheric conditions, obscuration, 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 the GPS constellation signals. Tests can be run to determine how equipment would perform if various GPS constellation signal errors occurred.


GNSS/GPS Simulation: General Principles

GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite System, and is the standard generic term for satellite navigation systems that provide global coverage. This term includes GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou and other regional satellite navigational systems.

IconSince the early days of GNSS, there have essentially been two major alternatives available to those wishing to test a navigation system: field test and laboratory simulation. Today, best practice indicates that most testing is done under controlled, repeatable conditions in a secure laboratory. This enables both nominal and adversarial conditions testing, including testing to the limits of both real and theoretical performance. It also allows development of receivers for GNSS systems that are currently unavailable or lacking a full constellation.
Real-world, live-sky testing has significant drawbacks which, in practice, preclude controlled testing. A summary of the advantages of testing with GNSS simulators, compared to live testing with actual GNSS constellations, is shown in the table below.
Live Testing with Actual GNSS Constellations
No control over constellation signals
Limited control over environmental conditions
Not repeatable; conditions are always changing
Unintended interference from FM, radar, etc.
Unwanted signal multipath and obscuration
No way to test with GNSS constellation errors
Expensive field testing and vehicle trials
Limited to signals available in GNSS constellations
Competitors can monitor field testing
Laboratory Testing with GNSS Simulators
Complete control over constellation signals
Complete control over environmental conditions
Fully repeatable
No unintended interference signals
No unwanted signal effects
Easily test scenarios with GNSS constellation errors
Cost-effective testing in laboratory
Testing of present and future GNSS signals
Testing conducted in secure laboratory


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