GPS Signal Simulation using Open Source GPS Receiver Platform

GPS Signal Simulation using Open Source GPS Receiver Platform
Alison Brown, Reece Tredway, and Robert Taylor
NAVSYS Corporation
14960 Woodcarver Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
(719) 481-4877
ABSTRACT
Embedded GPS receivers have become
commonplace with the proliferation of GPS
navigation systems into all but the least
expensive vehicle and cell phone lines. As
more manufacturers embed low-cost GPS
receivers into their products, the need for
low-cost GPS signal simulators has also
grown. Controlled virtual testing is vital in
ensuring the expected system performance.
NAVSYS developed a low cost, SDR-based
GPS signal generator to address a broad
range of research, academic, industrial, and
defense applications. The system is designed
to be flexible, scalable, and most
importantly, inexpensive.
The NAVSYS GPS signal simulator
leverages the capabilities of the Ettus
Universal Software Radio Peripheral
(USRP) radio and the NAVSYS GPS Signal
Simulation Toolbox to provide users with a
GPS signal generation capability at a much
lower cost than currently available on the
market. The combination of the NAVSYS
GPS signal simulation software coupled
with the record and playback capability of
the USRP makes for an extremely low cost,
yet highly flexible, GPS signal simulation
capability.
Many GPS signal generators are available
that are designed specifically for high
volume production test applications for
devices that use commercial GPS/SBAS,
GLONASS, and Galileo receivers. Often
the cost of these high-end simulators is
beyond the reach of small companies or
universities. In response to this need,
NAVSYS developed the NAVSYS SDR
Control Unit (SCU) and GPS Signal
Architect scenario software to address a
broad range of research, academic,
industrial, and defense applications.
Figure 1 shows the NAVSYS GPS signal
simulator hardware. It is designed for use
with commercial software designed radios
such as the Ettus N210 USRP radio and is
based on NAVSYS GPS Signal Simulation
Toolbox[1].
GPS
GPS
Receiver
Under Test
GPS
Antenna
Playback
Record
N210 Radio
External Clock
Signal
INTRODUCTION
As more manufacturers embed low-cost
GPS receivers in to their products, the need
for low-cost GPS signal simulators has also
grown. Controlled virtual testing is vital in
ensuring the expected system performance.
Ethernet
Ethernet
NAVSYS SDR
Control Unit
Windows PC running
Signal Architect
Figure 1 NAVSYS GPS Signal Simulator
Hardware
Proceedings of the 21st Virginia Tech Symposium on Wireless Personal Communications, Blacksburg, Virginia, June 2011
files. In addition, the hardware design and
supported signals are described and test
results are presented showing the USRP
providing simulated GPS signals to
conventional GPS user equipment.
In the configuration shown in Figure 1, the
NAVSYS SDR Control Unit (SCU) is used
to control the Ettus radio for record and
playback operation. The SDR Control Unit
also includes a 10 MHz frequency standard
that is compatible with the USRP radio
reference clock input. The NAVSYS GPS
Signal Architect software can produce
custom GPS scenario data files which can
use the low-cost USRP to produce a GPS
signal at RF.
Table 1 NAVSYS Signal
System Specifications
ETTUS RADIO HARDWARE
The ETTUS USRP radio family provides a
low cost development platform for software
defined radios. The USRP can also be used
to record and play back the GPS signal in a
static or mobile environment. The system
operator can then reproduce the signal on
the bench either from a simulated profile or
from
a
previously
recorded
test
environment. An advantage of the Ettus
radio is that it supports a wideband
transceiver front-end that can accommodate
the full 20 MHz of the GPS signal band and
can be tuned to operate at any of the GPS
signal frequencies (L1:1575.42 MHz,
L2:1227.60 MHz or L5: 1176.45 MHz).
This allows record and playback of both the
civil and military GPS codes.
Simulator
NAVSYS Signal Architect SW
OS
Windows XP/Win7
Multi-Core
Minimum Core i5
Support
Supported GPS
GPS L1 (1575.42 MHz) C/A
Signals
and P
Future System
GNSS, multi-frequency
Options
(GPS/GLONASS1)
NAVSYS SDR Control Unit (NSCU)
RF In/Out
SMA - Input/Output
antenna for RF signal
record/replay
PC
Interface: Gigabit Ethernet
(GbE)
OS: Windows XP/Win7
RF Record/Replay Channel 1 Center
Frequency: 1575.42 MHz
Sample Frequency:
2-20MHz
Sampling: 1 or 2-bit I/Q
Channel bandwidth set by
RF pre-filter to
match Nyquist BW (sample
rate)
Future
System Multi-RF channel
Options
L1+L2+L5
+GLONASS*
Figure 2 USRP N210 Radio
*Notes: Expected to be released Fall 2011.
While the GPS Signal Architect tools can be
easily adapted for use with any commercial
SDR, Ettus was chosen due to their
reasonable price, quality construction, and
extensive support by the GNU Radio
project[2]. Of the Ettus radios, the N210 was
chosen because it has the highest sample
rate, greatest flexibility, and largest capacity
for modification.
This paper provides a review of how the
NAVSYS Signal Simulator uses the USRP
family of radios as low cost RF record and
playback devices using the Signal Architect
The USRP provides an interface between
high speed analog to digital converters, high
speed digital to analog converters and an
Ethernet interface. Daughterboards available
2
software is bundled as a stand-alone
executable.
for the USRP provide an interface from the
baseband signals present at the data
converters to the GPS frequency bands.
For this project an ETTUS WBX[3]
transceiver daughtercard was installed in the
USRP radio. The tunable range of the WBX
(50 MHz to 2.2 GHz) covers all the current
GNSS frequencies. An RF pre-filter is used
to band-limit the GNSS signals to the
sample rate selected for use in the SCU to
avoid spectral folding from the N210 40
MHz channel bandwidth. For example, a 2
MHz filter centered at L1 is optimal based
on the Nyquist sampling frequency of 2
MHz I/Q. If sampling at 20 MHz, then a 20
MHz pre-filter should be used.
Figure 3 Signal Architect Simulation
Flow
Using a simple, intuitive GUI, the user
specifies a trajectory and a complete set of
simulation parameters to create an IQ data
file. The Signal Architect software also
ships with preloaded scenario files that the
user can run right out of the box into the
NAVSYS SDR Control Unit using the Ettus
radio. The Signal Architect software
supports computers with multi-core
processors and will automatically configure
to run on all available processors. The
Signal Architect software will generate
either static or dynamic simulation profiles.
The Signal Architect GUI allows the
operator to easily modify a wide range of
scenario variables from the pre-set defaults.
Complete scenarios are easily shared
between NAVSYS Signal Simulation
systems, supporting collaborative testing
between similar projects and reducing the
amount of time spent developing test tools.
NAVSYS SDR CONTROL UNIT (SCU)
The NAVSYS SDR Control Unit includes a
Linux SBC with software developed to run
under the GNU Radio Companion and
control the GNU SDR for RF record and
playback under control of the GPS Signal
Architect software through an Ethernet
connection to a standard PC. This enables
the user to tap into the excellent USRP
community support for their project and
benefit from the close relationship between
the GNU Radio project and Ettus Research.
The Ethernet connection is also used to
download and upload recorded or simulated
signal files from the Signal Architect signal
simulation software.
SIGNAL
ARCHITECT
SIGNAL
SIMULATION SOFTWARE
The NAVSYS GPS Signal Architect
hardware and software provides users with a
MATLAB-based GPS signal generation
capability. If the NAVSYS MATLAB GPS
Toolbox[1] is purchased, the Signal Architect
GPS simulation can be run under the
MATLAB environment. For the nonMATLAB user, the Signal Architect
The signal data file can then be used for
subsequent analysis within MATLAB using
the MATLAB GPS Toolbox or can be
provided to the SDR Control Unit and Ettus
radio to create a GPS signal suitable for
playback into a GPS receiver. If the
MATLAB GPS Toolbox is purchased, the
user has complete flexibility to manipulate
the signal at various stages of generation or
post-generation to simulate GPS anomalies.
Without the Toolbox, the user is restricted to
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To demonstrate the NAVSYS GPS Signal
Simulator performance, representative data
was collected in a series of two laboratory
tests. The first test demonstrates the system
performance as a record and playback GPS
signal simulator. The second test results
demonstrate the system performance when
using the NAVSYS Signal Architect
software to generate custom GPS scenario
files for playback into the GPS receiver.
using only the standard error modeling
provided by the compiled Signal Architect
code.
In the first test the NAVSYS EGS-100 GPS
Simulator hardware was configured as
shown in Figure 5. The NovAtel GPS
receiver and Ettus N210 radio were
connected to a NovAtel GPS-702GG
antenna. The antenna was located at a
known location with a clear view of the GPS
constellation. The signal from the GPS
antenna was split between the GPS receiver
and the Ettus N210 radio so that the data
could be logged by the NovAtel receiver
software at the same time as it was being
recorded by the NAVSYS SDR Control
Unit.
Figure 4 Signal Architect GUI
SIMULATION TEST RESULTS
To demonstrate the high fidelity of the
NAVSYS Signal Simulator signal record
and playback capability, a series of a
stationary GPS simulations were ran. In
these tests the N210 radio was used to
record and playback GPS C/A signals at the
L1 band (1575.42 MHz). The NAVSYS
SCU and Ettus N210 radio was connected to
a rooftop mounted GPS L1 antenna. The
GPS signal was split between the NovAtel
GPS receiver and the N210 radio to allow
the operator to monitor the GPS receiver
while the N210 was recording the GPS
signal.
GPS
Receiver
GPS
Antenna
Antenna Splitter
Attenuator
RF Filter
In record mode, the I/Q data is written from
the N210 radio to a file on the NAVSYS
SDR Control Unit. In playback mode, the
data is read from the file by the N210 radio
to generate the RF signal. The RF signals
are output to the GPS receive through an
external variable attenuator. The attenuator
allows the operator to adjust the signal
power into the GPS receiver as different
lengths of antenna cable are added or as the
signal is split to other GPS receivers.
GPS Control
Software
N210 Radio
Ethernet
10 MHz
Precision
Oscillator
Ethernet
NAVSYS SDR
Control Unit
Windows PC running
Signal Architect
Figure 5 NAVSYS EGS-100 GPS Signal
Simulator Record and Playback GPS
Simulation
4
SNo
04/18/2011
PRN 20
SNo (dB-Hz)
The simulated satellite constellation is
shown below in Figure 6.
100
50
0
0
100
200
300
400
500
700
800
Live Sky
Record and Playback
PRN 23
SNo (dB-Hz)
600
100
50
0
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
500
600
700
800
SNo (dB-Hz)
PRN 24
50
0
0
100
200
300
400
Figure 8 SNo - Record and Playback vs.
Live Sky Collection
Figure 6 Simulated Satellite Constellation
The 2-D position error from the simulated
signal is shown below in Figure 7.
As shown, the signal to noise (SNo) was 1-2
dB lower in playback mode when compared
to the data collected from the GPS antenna.
The signal loss is due to the 1-bit sampling
of the incoming GPS signal by the Signal
Architect software.
One-bit and 2-bit
quantization are used in many commercial
GPS receivers. The rule of thumb states that
1-bit quantization degrades the signal-tonoise ratio by 1.96 dB and 2-bit quantization
degrades the signal-to-noise by 0.55 dB4.
These results show that 1-bit I/Q sampling is
sufficient for reproducing GPS L1 C/A code
signals with the Ettus N210 radio.
Figure 7 North-East (2-D) Position Error
(m)
In the second test the NAVSYS Signal
Architect software was used to generate a 10
minute static GPS C/A L1 scenario file. The
NAVSYS SDR Control Unit used the Ettus
N210 radio to generate the GPS signal.
The following series of plots show the signal
to noise measurements from the GPS
receiver for both the live sky data and for
the recorded signal when played into the
GPS receiver by the EGS-100 for three of
the GPS receiver channels. The S/No data
collected from the GPS antenna is shown in
blue, the S/No from the Ettus N210 radio is
shown in green.
Shown below in Figure 9 are the number of
satellites the GPS receiver was able to track.
When using the NAVSYS GPS Signal
simulator system to playback the Signal
Architect scenario file the GPS receiver was
able to track all the simulated satellites in
the scenario file. The time necessary for the
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ideal low cost GPS signal simulation tool
with the capability of simulating or
recording the complete GPS signal spectrum
including both the civil and the military
codes for playback through the Ettus SDR
The initial release of the GPS Signal
Architect and SCU supports L1 operation
and C/A and P-code signal simulation or
C/A and P(Y) code record and playback.
GPS receiver to acquire and track the
satellites is consistent with the performance
you would expect from the GPS receiver
when connected to an external antenna.
Number of Satellites Tracked
04/18/2011
(DSF File Playback)
Number of Satellites Tracked
10
8
Our team of GPS and RF experts are
continually developing and updating the
system in order to provide additional
functionality. Future releases of our Signal
Simulator will include support for multifrequency SDR hardware and the capability
to simulate other civil and military GPS
signals and also other GNSS satellite
systems.
6
4
2
DSF File Playback
0
0
100
200
300
400
Simulation Seconds
500
Figure 9 Number of Satellites Tracked,
(DSF File Playback Mode)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to acknowledge the
support of Ettus Research LLC in the
development of this technology.
The following plot shows the signal to noise
measurements from the GPS receiver for
three of the receiver channels. The scenario
file SNo data is shown in blue. There were
nine satellites in this static scenario file. The
S/No for all the satellites are stable for the
duration of the scenario playback.
REFERENCES
[1] www.navsys.com/Products/toolbox.htm
[2] http://gnuradio.org
[3] TX and RX Daughterboards for the
USRP
Software
Radio
System.
http://www.ettus.com/downloads/ettus_daug
hterboards.pdf
[4] Van Dierendonck, A.J. (1996), Global
Positioning
System:
Theory
and
Applications, Volume I, Chapter 8: GPS
Receivers, AJ Systems, Los Altos, CA
94024.
SNo (dB-Hz)
55
SNo (dB-Hz)
55
SNo (dB-Hz)
SNo
04/18/2011
PRN 3
55
DSF Playback
50
45
0
100
200
300
400
500
400
500
400
500
PRN 6
50
45
0
100
200
300
PRN 7
50
45
0
100
200
300
Figure 10 SNo, DSF Playback Mode
CONCLUSION
The combination of the NAVSYS GPS
Signal Architect software, SDR Control
Unit, and Ettus radio has proven to be an
6