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Quality and Cost: Two Good Reasons why Record and Playback Beats Live Sky
The Record and Playback approach to performance testing GNSS-enabled devices has been with us for some time now. Spirent's own, industry-leading Record and Playback system is over a year old, and has just been upgraded with some brand new features.

Given this, it's surprising how often we still encounter R&D teams attempting to test the performance of their location-aware devices against a live, constantly-changing sky. Just in case you're among those still in need of further convincing, here are the two fundamental reasons why a Record and Playback approach makes both scientific and financial sense.

Reason One: Quality
Repeatability is vital to meaningful, high-quality performance testing. To confidently make the correct decision between two competing device designs, you need to know how they perform under exactly the same conditions.

Live sky testing, by its very nature, isn't repeatable. Whether you're putting an antenna on the roof of your lab or taking your device out to test it in the field, it’s impossible to run exactly the same test twice. (Even if you always test at the same time of day—when the picture of satellites overhead should be similar—atmospheric conditions will be different.)

With a Record and Playback approach, once the richness and unpredictability of a real-world GNSS environment has been recorded, it can be played back as many times as are necessary, enabling:
  • truly comparative testing
  • more accurate, more meaningful results
Higher-quality performance testing ultimately supports the creation a higher-quality device—which in turn encourages a better user experience, increased sales and brand reputation.

Reason Two: Cost
Testing against live GNSS signals might seem like the cheapest and fastest testing option available. What does it cost to point an antenna or device towards the sky? Well, it's likely to cost one or more of the following:
  • Time and money spent investigating unexpected test results, caused by a lack of test control
  • Time and money spent repeatedly leaving the lab to conduct field tests
  • Time and money spent processing high quantities of device returns and support requests
  • Market share—lost to higher-performance devices
In this way, Record and Playback not only delivers more accurate, meaningful testing when compared with a live sky approach, it accelerates testing and reduces testing costs—by increasing testing control, reducing testing errors, and minimising the time R&D teams need to spend outside the R&D lab.

Further Resources
If you'd like to learn more about how a Record and Playback system can enhance the quality and reduce the cost of your field tests, you can find further information and resources here.
By: Rahul Gupta - 9/11/2012 8:35:38 AM
Tags: Record & Playback

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