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Uncertainties in time and space – Mitigating threats in GNSS signals
There's no question that society is focused on the accuracy of time, so much so that we manage our lives by smartphones linked to the atomic clocks of the GPS system. The common denominator for smartphones and Google maps—the global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs)—has come under scrutiny due to incidents in the past six months where systems have been compromised, either by accidental or deliberate intentions of individuals, and before this governments. Akin to spotting a lit candle from several kilometers away, GNSS signals are just as discernable, so receivers can be vulnerable to interference or deliberate jamming. So the questions we have to answer are "what are the consequences?" and "how do we mitigate the threats?

Given the wide range of applications using GNSS information—either for positioning or timing—the consequences of compromised GNSS signals could be significant and expensive. In commercial markets the agriculture, banking, distribution, and travel sectors all make extensive use of GNSS. There's no doubt the impacts would be significant. From farmers unable to use tractors, to ships being hijacked or ransomed, to stock markets unable to record trade times, all sections could be affected in some way.

To understand the likelihood of such things happening, there needs to be a better understanding of how current GNSS receivers respond to either environmental or malicious interference, and how new service and receiver designs can be made more resilient to interference.

Spirent is starting to meet the challenge, but if the industry does not address and resolve these questions, the potential for severe disruptions is imminent.
By: Steve Hickling - 12/12/2013 1:51:57 PM
Tags: Testing

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