By now you have probably read that LIghtSquared’s new wireless technology disrupts 75 percent of GPS systems. What you may not be aware of is that LightSquared had issued a statement two days prior to the leaked test data saying that its new system is “Compatible with High-Precision GPS Devices”. So which is it? Will the new system mess up your GPS device or will it not?
Well, it depends on whose report you read. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it will send 75 percent of GPS systems into a frenzy if they get within 100 meters or 109 yards. Bloomberg is using testing results from the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Systems Engineering Forum. The results are from testing conducted from October 31 to November 4 of this year.
According to Martin Harriman, Executive Vice President of Ecosystem Development and Satellite Business at LightSquared, the information that was reported by Bloomberg was incomplete testing data that was leaked inappropriately. Instead Harriman says that the leaked data is “patently false” because LightSquared is going to manage the power levels of its wireless network. Harriman claims that the disruptive tests used power settings that were 15 times greater than those proposed by LightSquared.
Ironically, LightSquared had issued a statement two days prior to the brouhaha stating that interference issues with GPS systems were being resolved with the aid of GPS manufacturers.
LightSquared has commissioned a renowned independent lab to test the GPS interference solutions developed by three private companies – Javad GNSS, PCTel and Partron. Three additional top-tier, high-precision GPS manufacturers – all members of the Save Our GPS Coalition – have also developed solutions that have been tested at the lab. Initial testing for one of those companies, Hemisphere GPS, has gone very well. Several of these companies are also suppliers to the federal government. These are major developments and a direct repudiation of the claims of some GPS device makers that the interference issue is an unsolvable physics problem.
“Preliminary results show that GPS devices tested in the lab easily surpass performance standards thanks to these newly developed solutions. We are confident that this independent testing will mirror testing being done by the federal government,” said LightSquared chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja.
It appears to be a case of the solutions announcement prior to news accounts of the problem. If indeed Bloomberg’s report was simply an outdated leak, then LightSquared should be able to move forward in its bid to gain government approval of its “wholesale-only nationwide 4G-LTE network integrated with satellite coverage.” This would be good news for the more than 30 wholesale customers that have already signed up with the company, customers that include Best Buy, Sharp and Sprint.