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Multi-GNSS navigators discover GPS, Galileo, QZSS and Glonass constellations

by gps4us news 2011-10-27 14:06


Multi-GNSS technologyNew navigational devices are embedding the multi-GNSS antenna arrays and chipsets. The chip supporting multi-GNSS is an advanced GPS constellation positioning receiver integrated in a small factor design circuit. It has an embedded radio frequency input processing circuitry which knows how to separate the GPS signals into the GPS, Galileo, QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) and Glonass outputs. The milti-GNSS output channels may be further combined with 32 dedicated tracking channels that can be assigned to acquire and track any mix of GPS, Galileo, QZSS and Glonass signals. Unused tracking channels can be  turned off by the power management circuit to save battery power of the mobile personal communicator or dedicated GPS device. STMicroelectronics has introduced Teseo II and Fastrax developed the IT600 as a complete GNSS receiver microchip with extreme performance. 

Multi-GNSS GLONASSEnabling Glonass in urban canyons with limited visibility of the sky, the number of visible satellites go up typically with a factor of two compared to, for instance a GPS-only receiver. This means that your GPS handheld fix on satellite is guaranteed in most areas. Most advanced multi-GNSS micro miniature quad helix antennas and chipsets are designed with their firmware and software update capabilities which will make the multi-GNSS chipset ready for Galileo and Compass/Beidou GPS constellation discovery with a simple software upgrade.

The multi-GNSS tiny factor chipset also supports AGPS, the Assisted-GPS technology, able to provide both fully-autonomous ephemeris prediction and cloud computing server-based, predictive assistance web services. The autonomous predictions are providing accurate GPS satellite fix for several days on observed satellites with no need to connect to AGPS servers too often. For example the the AGPS access session downloading a very compact information payload to the microchip keeps the full-constellation ephemeris prediction in local memory valid for a week.

Based on newest developments of multi-GNSS chipset the leading GPS consumer-grade GPS receivers manufacturers began to introduce the state-of-the-art multi-system GPS receiver devices for  which are setting a new standard in GPS handheld world - the ability to reliably track both more than one GPS constellation satellites simultaneously. The time it takes for the unified GPS-GLONASS GPS receiver to “lock on” to a position is much less than before. The immediate gain of this new technology implementation is a twenty percent performance improvement for the handheld navigator and GPS-GLONASS satellite constellations "lock on" operation. For each of the GPS, Galileo, QZSS, Glonass and Compass/Beidou GPS constellation the multi-GNSS universal navigator's receiver will have the ability to lock on to 24 more satellites per constellation. The discovery of multi-system satellite signals is particularly helpful for users who need reliable satellite navigation in challenging environments such as deep canyons or urban environments where a large portion of the sky is blocked by solid objects. 

Pioneering the advanced capabilities of the new system the leading GPS innovators this year introduced the new generation of navigators to civilian users. As one example Garmin (GRMN) has chosen their latest family of eTrex handhelds to debut a new multi-GNSS feature. The recently introduced eTrex 10 , eTrex 20, and eTrex 30 are capable of discovery and lock on the GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations simultaneously. The next generation of the multi-GNSS navigators using advanced quad helix antennas and receiver microchips could capture signals of the modified version of the GLONASS-K spacecraft, known as GLONASS-K2, which  introduces a new type of navigation signal with so-called code-protected selection. The GLONASS-K2 spacecraft will transmit three types of signals, two of which in L1 and L2 range would be designated for a select GPS information use by navy and armed forces target control systems. The additional separate GPS signal in L1 range is generated and transmitted to help civilian users improve precision of their GPS navigational coordinates. The new European Union Galileo satellites  recently launched are opening another dimension of quality, reliability and precision of GPS positioning information available to the new generation of the multi-GNSS navigator systems.

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