Satellite in outer space

Millions of users rely on some type of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) to get to work, find a lost phone, or send someone their location. The most common type of GNSS is the Global Positioning System or GPS. These users trust that the system is working the way it should.

However, that is not always the case. The receiver may need adjusting. A GNSS simulator tests if a receiver is working properly before going live. It is better than a live test because you can control the environment with a GNSS simulator. Here are a few factors it can control in a lab.

Location and Time

A GNSS gives information about location and time. The GNSS simulator can put in different locations and times to see if the receiver gets the right information. You can do this without having to go to the physical location. You can also control if the time is in the present, future, or the past.


Many GNSS receivers are in something that moves, like a car or a phone. A good example is GPS. Navigation software uses GPS receivers to give them the user’s location.

The GNSS simulator can use different motion factors such as speed and direction to see if the receiver can compensate for them.  All these scenarios happen without having to move the receiver at all.


The environment is a big factor that can affect a receiver. This includes the weather, atmosphere, clouds and other devices. These are very hard to control in a live test. You cannot have a storm on demand, for example. The GNSS simulator operator can put together these factors in various setups quite easily.

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Signal Errors

It does not happen all the time, but the GNSS can also have signal errors. If that happens, the GNSS simulator can show how it will affect the receiver.

This is important because it shows when the GNSS itself is not working. If the tester knows what the receiver does when it gets a signal error, it serves as a sort of warning for all users of that particular GNSS.

A GNSS simulator is a cost-effective and efficient way to test a receiver. You will not have to spend time and money in testing it in a live environment. More importantly, you will have total control over the different factors that may affect the receiver.