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Will your GPS work?

#1 User is offline   KMC 

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 07:54 PM

Tried to find the original thread about this, but it didn't turn up in searches and I paged through tons and couldn't find it....

The original thread was about the new company Lightsquared launching a new wireless service that uses frequencies that are very close to the GPS band. Many people are concerned (based on actual test data) that many of the GPS receivers out there would have difficulty if this new service was launched. It uses a combination of satellite signals and tower-mounted high power transmitters.


Despite Ramped PR Efforts, LightSquared Can’t Beat Gov’t Scrutiny

In yet another blow to LightSquared, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a public notice stating that LightSquared may not commence Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) operations until the FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) find that GPS interference concerns have been satisfactorily resolved. (For more, see LightSquared’s Heavy Regulatory, Technical Burdens. Will It Fly?).

The FCC's notice said in part, "Following extensive comments received…the Federal Communications Commission, in consultation with NTIA, has determined that additional targeted testing is needed to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to GPS operations."

The chorus of voices decrying LightSquared's proposed hybrid satellite terrestrial wireless network has grown louder and stronger. There's even a Website - Coalition to Save Our GPS - dedicated to fighting LightSquared's network.

LightSquared has revised its planned deployment to operate terrestrial transmitters only in the lower 10 megahertz of its spectrum. In its Notice yesterday, the FCC wrote, "The results thus far from the testing using the lower 10 megahertz showed significant improvement compared to tests of the upper 10 megahertz, although there continue to be interference concerns, e.g., with certain types of high precision GPS receivers, including devices used in national security and aviation applications. Additional tests are therefore necessary."

For its part, LightSquared has ramped up its public-relations machine, continuing to send announcements that it has signed new wholesale wireless partners. (For more, see LightSquared Racks Up Partners). And the company sometimes blames the GPS industry for the interference problems. (For more, see LightSquared: GPS Industry Failed to Comply with Filtering Standards).

Undoubtedly, LightSquared's troubles are being closely monitored by DISH Network, which in August proposed a similar hybrid satellite terrestrial network named “Gamma.” (For more, see DISH Proposes Gamma Mobile Network).

-Linda Hardesty

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#2 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:39 PM

I think the last GPS thread was moved over to the Politics forum, I couldn't find it either, but admittedly, I haven't looked very hard.

I work in the GPS industry, specifically the military GPS community. Here is a pretty good article from one of the defense news outlets that I frequent, it gives a pretty good summary of the latest status on this issue. I dont like the partisanship it discusses in the article, but the summary is fair. Still too early to tell what will happen, but it is safe to stay there are some VERY political maneuvers going on, as high up as the White House.


http://www.dodbuzz.c...louds-over-gps/

Brian

This post has been edited by cptnboom: 18 September 2011 - 08:40 PM

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#3 User is offline   KMC 

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 10:18 PM

View Postcptnboom, on 18 September 2011 - 08:39 PM, said:

I think the last GPS thread was moved over to the Politics forum, I couldn't find it either, but admittedly, I haven't looked very hard.

I work in the GPS industry, specifically the military GPS community. Here is a pretty good article from one of the defense news outlets that I frequent, it gives a pretty good summary of the latest status on this issue. I dont like the partisanship it discusses in the article, but the summary is fair. Still too early to tell what will happen, but it is safe to stay there are some VERY political maneuvers going on, as high up as the White House.


http://www.dodbuzz.c...louds-over-gps/

Brian

Good article.

I'm all for more and better wireless, but this seems like too much a risk and too much a cost to ANYONE who already has GPS units.. why should everyone have to retrofit their units or toss them out and replace them so that LightSquared can operate?

And I did find the original thread... it was moved to "Boating Safety"
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#4 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 07:42 PM

Yeah, the only way this Lightsquared proposal will move forward is if they can find a way NOT to interfere. To expect GPS users to update their receivers is an unafordable way to do business, even if Lightsquared helped subsidize much of the cost, a logistics nightmare! The right solution is for the FCC to rescind their RF spectrum that is so close to the L1 frequency and give them another frequency. Alternatively, they can force Lightsquared back to their original plan to use the spectrum from their satellite constellation, which is what they originally planned to do, and that wont interfere with the GPS frequencies.

We'll see what our brilliant administration decides to do.....
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#5 User is offline   tcg 

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 08:09 PM

This is another one of those to big to fail things. (GPS industry)

From my reading it appears the GPS industry has had time to deal with the fact that the bands near them were going to be used.

The point is there is a whole lot more going on here than just an interference issue which, again from my reading, can be solved.

There are also other big communication companies who may stand to lose if they have to compete with another broadband supplier that are also fueling the fire from the sidelines.

In this issue there sure does seem to be 2, 3 or more sides to this story. And lately politics is even starting to cloud the whole issue.
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#6 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 02:16 AM

There are politics going on, no doubt!
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#7 User is offline   KMC 

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 07:41 AM

View Posttcg, on 19 September 2011 - 08:09 PM, said:

This is another one of those to big to fail things. (GPS industry)

From my reading it appears the GPS industry has had time to deal with the fact that the bands near them were going to be used.

The point is there is a whole lot more going on here than just an interference issue which, again from my reading, can be solved.

There are also other big communication companies who may stand to lose if they have to compete with another broadband supplier that are also fueling the fire from the sidelines.

In this issue there sure does seem to be 2, 3 or more sides to this story. And lately politics is even starting to cloud the whole issue.

I am sure they could come up with a solution to make a receiver that would work, but is it really in everybody's best interest to make them much more expensive?? Also, EVERYONE would have to replace existing ones.... the portables for camping and snowmobiling, the ones in your smartphones, the ones in OnStar or other onboard devices, and ALL THE MILITARY ONES.
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#8 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:16 PM

KMC, you hit the issue on the head. There are definitely work arounds that would enable the front end filters on commerical and military gps receivers to work in conjunction with the Lightsquared spectrum. The issue is the logistics nightmare of asking EVERY worldwide GPS user to replace their receiver. In a world where GPS has become a commodity item (ie it is in our cell phones, cars, cameras, computers, etc), it is inconceivable to believe that all these users will replace their products, the cost is prohibitive.
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#9 User is offline   gradytom 

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 03:51 PM

From Boat US e-Line delivered today





Will your GPS keep you in the center of the channel next time you hit the On button?
As reported in the
May 2011 issue of eLine, LightSquared, a private company, is pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve its plans to build a cellular broadband network. The proposed network could pose a serious threat to GPS operations in some areas of the country and now Congress is getting an earful from federal agencies about the problems GPS interference could pose for them.


As the GPS threat loomed earlier this summer, with your help, we delivered over 16,500 comments, pressing to preserve the integrity of the GPS system, to FCC headquarters. We thank you for your comments as well as those who also contacted their members of Congress, which generated significant interest in this issue on Capitol Hill.

Click here to view the video of the delivery of your comments to the FCC.

In testimony before the House Science Committee on Sept 8, representatives of four federal agencies expressed serious concerns over the proposal by LightSquared. Testimony from NOAA, NASA, the Dept. of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey described how any degradation in GPS accuracy would have serious consequences for their respective missions. The NOAA representative cited the vulnerability of the weather satellite system to GPS interference and the U.S. Geological Survey speaker warned that compromising GPS signals could "make fire crews revert to pencils and paper maps."

In a ruling issued just last week. FCC told LightSquared that it may not commence service until "the Commission...finds that GPS interference concerns have been satisfactorily resolved."

See? We can make a difference! But rest assured that the BoatUS Government Affairs team will keep up the pressure to protect the GPS system until FCC finally settles the matter. Visit BoatUS.com/gov for the latest updates.



sorry if the links are inactive

This post has been edited by gradytom: 20 September 2011 - 03:52 PM

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#10 User is offline   KMC 

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 09:40 AM

re: "Testimony from NOAA, NASA, the Dept. of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey described how any degradation in GPS accuracy would have serious consequences for their respective missions. "

One of the scary things to come out of this discussion is how (maybe overly) dependent we've become on this one system. Beyond the location function, lots of networks and critical facilities are dependent of "GPS clocks" for timing. I wonder, how many of these folks using these systems are questioning themselves and saying "what if it stopped working"? If we had some type of temporary failure, are we really at risk of big bad things happening?? (are your charts handy?)

There is a great discussion group called the "RISK-LIST", that's been going on for over 20 years that discusses the "risks of relying on technology" and shows a lot of cases where people were totally dependent on things operating right.. until that time they didn't. (If you're interested in that kind of stuff, here's a link
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#11 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 02:34 PM

THe USAF recently released a report called "A Day Without Space" detailing the risks involved in having someone shoot our space-based comms systems out of the sky, including cell phones, GPS, timing, TV/radio, etc. You can imagine the military impact of this, but you're right, we have become amazingly dependent on this technology.

Interesting, when I was in Rio in April meeting with some of the south american defense organizations, they made an edict to NOT use GPS, they prefer GLONASS (the russian equivalent system), as they dont trust us slimey americans to keep our satellites in orbit (or they think we're going to invade and take over the amazon). Not everyone wants to be reliant on these types of systems.

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#12 User is offline   cptnboom 

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 08:21 PM

Here's a new statement today from a USAF General....this pretty well sums up the DoD's position on LIghtsquared.....http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/09/20/af-gen-gps-lightsquared-cant-coexist/

Lightsquared is getting desperate, they launched a smear campaign discussing the "facts" about the GPS industry on their website. Quite humerous after listening to our Chief Engineer debunk lightsquared "facts" the other day around the coffee pot.
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#13 User is offline   Stodge 

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 06:51 AM

Thinking someone at Lightsquared should have done a little research before they went too far into development. Sorta like the folks trying to do BPL (Internet over power lines). I imagine the discussion for both went something like:

This product is so cool. Too bad it wipes out radio signals in these bands. But who's going to notice? :rolleyes:
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#14 User is offline   Powerboat1 

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 07:16 AM

First and foremost, I believe this is purely a political issue.

I remember when the GPS was first coming out for civilian marine use, the signal was distorted and there were all kinds of hi-end bells and whistles to add on to your system to combine Loran and GPS to be more accurate.

I was on a project awhile back in the Pacific and the Air Force was training B2 pilots to fly from Guam and drop bombs the old fashioned way on an island in Alaska without the use of GPS targeting.

At any rate, the great thing about the US is that we will come up with a economic and military solution. I am sure what ever they come up with will be better and more accurate.
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#15 User is offline   dockrocker 

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:48 PM

View PostStodge, on 22 September 2011 - 06:51 AM, said:

Thinking someone at Lightsquared should have done a little research before they went too far into development. Sorta like the folks trying to do BPL (Internet over power lines). I imagine the discussion for both went something like:

This product is so cool. Too bad it wipes out radio signals in these bands. But who's going to notice? :rolleyes:


They did do the research and thought they had found out which palms to grease. Unfortunately, it looks to be a bit harder making wireless widgets than it is (not) making cylindrical solar panels. <shrug>
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