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The Customer Benefits from Multi-Constellation, Multi-Frequency-Capable

Global Navigation Satellite System Receivers


Technologies incorporating signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) improve our lives every day. The United States’ GNSS constellation, called the Global Positioning System (GPS), is an irreplaceable part of our national infrastructure and public safety systems and delivers other benefits to users worldwide. These satellite technologies touch every aspect of society’s infrastructure, from aviation and rail to wireless broadband and the electric grid. Emergency responders and people using 9-1-1 to help their loved ones and others facing emergencies rely on GPS. Differently abled people use satellite technology to communicate with and navigate in the world. Satellite infrastructure also is essential to supporting critical applications including precision agriculture, surveying, mapping, and construction. Satellite signals also are important for health, wellness, leisure, and sporting activities. For instance, every day, amateur and professional athletes track their performance and activity through these signals. 



Global Competition in the GNSS Receiver Market is Fierce

In the global navigation technology market, it is standard practice to design receivers with chipsets to receive signals from multiple GNSS satellite constellations, including the United States’ GPS, the EU’s Galileo system, Japan’s QZSS, China’s Beidou system, India’s NavIC, and Russia’s GLONASS system. According to ABI Research, a technology intelligence firm, in 2021, 87% of the global receiver market supported three or more GNSS constellations. By 2026, 95% of the market will do so.



How GNSS Satellites and Receivers Work Together

Each GNSS system differs in its technical attributes. Some satellite systems operate worldwide, and others are regionally focused. Most satellite constellations transmit signals in one direction to receivers. Because these signals are transmitted free of charge, use of the signals in no way financially benefits the foreign governments operating these constellations.


Three types of signals are transmitted from satellites to receivers: military, civil, and commercial. Certain satellite signals are reserved exclusively for use in military activities of the relevant government and its allies. The satellites also transmit publicly-available navigation and timing signals that are incorporated into suitably-designed receivers for civil authorities and users and commercial customers and users. The receivers "hear" the transmitted signal(s) and turn them into useful information, or information from the signal is combined with other sensor data to deliver outstanding services for customers and users worldwide. By 2031, the EU Agency for the Space Programme estimates that over 10 billion GNSS devices will be in use across the world. 



Benefits of Multi-Constellation- AND Multi-Frequency-Enabled Receivers

Accuracy is critical to determining receiver performance and distinguishing chipset and receiver brands. The more navigation signals that are "heard" by a customer’s receiver from GNSS satellites, the more accurate the position the user will be provided. 


The number of different frequencies on which a system can transmit is another important characteristic among satellite systems. The more frequencies transmitted, the greater benefits that chipset and receiver manufacturers can provide to users, ranging from improved resistance to spoofing and jamming to receiving stronger signals in urban or forested and mountainous environments.  In short, more signals means increased receiver resilience.


Companies and customers benefit from global harmonization and economies of scale.  The ability to offer a common set of products and establish a baseline throughout its product lines, particularly for products sold in markets across the world, lets companies keep prices lower. Companies can streamline inventory, focus marketing resources, and standardize maintenance and repair. Plus, customers get a higher value, quality product.



Security and Robustness of Multi-Constellation Approaches Matter

Jamming and spoofing can impact any electronics system and represent illegal activities in the United States. But receivers merely “hearing” one-way signals from foreign GNSS constellations do not pose a similar threat. In fact, there have been no known instances of security issues for users from receipt and use of these signals. 


GPSIA Member companies and others in the GNSS industry take security in the design and operation of devices very seriously, and they go to great lengths to provide secure products. These matters are closely and continually tracked, with swift action taken to address any concerns as they arise. 


Receivers designed to receive multi-constellation signals provide a security benefit for global customers. If one signal behaves differently than those coming from other constellations, today’s sophisticated receiver technology can remove the unreliable information in calculating position. As the RAND Corporation noted in its 2021 report produced for the Department of Homeland Security, "One important alternative provides a nearly seamless backup for GPS - the other GNSS constellations that use similar signals in the same radio band."

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