September 12, 2023
Ricardo Verdeguer Moreno
In the dynamic GNSS test simulation market, modern lab practices have emerged to address the challenges posed by evolving technology and the demand for seamless integration, remote collaboration, efficient scenario management, and optimized hardware usage.
The ever-increasing demand for precision and resilience is creating new challenges in the lab. In the realm of PNT test simulation, the ability to seamlessly integrate various hardware components and simulators is paramount. Flexible interfaces and co-simulation techniques enable researchers and engineers to combine the best software and hardware elements from different vendors, creating a holistic testing environment. This integration not only replicates real-world scenarios as accurately as possible, but also facilitates the evaluation of complex interactions between GNSS signals, PNT systems, and other devices.
Modern lab practices emphasize the development of interfaces that are easy to configure and adapt. The flexibility of interfaces that are easy to configure and adapt enhances the efficiency of test setups, allowing for quick adjustments to different scenarios and reducing the time required for testing and development cycles. Whether it’s incorporating new signals or simulating challenging environments, flexible interfaces enable engineers to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of PNT technology.
In this context, Spirent has added gRPC technology to the SimREMOTE interface in our PNT simulators, aiming to enhance communication and interoperability across test systems. This integration allows for the generation of consistent client and server code in multiple languages, including Python, C#, Java, and more. By adopting gRPC, Spirent empowers teams utilizing their PNT simulators to collaborate, leveraging their preferred programming languages and thereby boosting productivity.
Another tool for enhancing development cycles is the use of virtualized simulation. Employing advanced software simulation tools, engineers can replicate GNSS signals, impairments, and complex environments in a virtual setting. This approach minimizes the reliance on physical hardware, reduces costs, and accelerates testing and development timelines.
Software simulation allows for rapid prototyping, scenario iteration, and testing of extreme or rare conditions that might be challenging to replicate with hardware alone. By combining software simulation with carefully chosen hardware components, teams can strike a balance between accurate testing and cost-effective resource allocation.
Spirent offers a comprehensive suite of products that help facilitate this. From the provision of observables via SimGNSS, a software-only GNSS simulation solution which is based on Spirent’s comprehensive simulation software SimGEN, to the generation of I/Q data using SimIQ, Spirent can help to accelerate the design process while providing an efficient, cost-effective and sophisticated software test solution.
The rise of remote work and globally-distributed teams has transformed the way industries operate. The GNSS test simulation market is no exception. Many labs now recognize the need for remote configuration capabilities, enabling engineers and researchers to access, configure, and control simulation setups from different geographical locations. This remote configuration not only optimizes time and resources, but also fosters collaboration among experts working from different parts of the world.
With greater flexibility and accessibility, engineers can fine-tune simulation parameters, modify scenarios, and analyze results without being in the lab. This approach enhances efficiency while encouraging knowledge sharing and cross-functional collaboration, ultimately leading to more robust and comprehensive testing procedures.
Test automation plays a pivotal role, empowering users to execute simulations without constantly monitoring the system. An exciting addition to Spirent’s software ecosystem is Spyder– an open-source Python development environment. Combined with gRPC, users can now write their own scripts in order to schedule tests, control the scenario execution and manage simulation data.
The accompanying challenge here is maintaining control over scenario repositories. Version-control repository-based systems provide a centralized hub for storing, organizing, and sharing simulation scenarios, configurations, and data. This approach ensures consistency across different teams and projects, reduces the risk of errors, and enhances collaboration by allowing multiple stakeholders to work on the same hardware and software setup.
Version-control systems enable engineers to track changes, manage different versions of scenarios, and collaborate while maintaining a clear audit trail. This not only streamlines the testing process but also ensures that critical information is readily available, reducing the chances of miscommunication or discrepancies in results. Furthermore, version control allows teams to revert to previous configurations or scenarios, facilitating troubleshooting and optimization.
Spirent provides all the necessary insights to establish a repository for the test scenarios folder in their simulators, enabling engineers and teams to adopt version-control practices and leverage all the associated benefits.
PNT testing is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by the increasing demand for accurate and reliable navigation systems, and fueled by technological advancements in user equipment. Modern lab practices emphasize the importance of flexible interfaces, remote configuration, version-control repository-based scenario management, and software simulation to enhance efficiency, collaboration, and hardware optimization. With Spirent, professionals in the PNT industry can stay at the forefront of innovation.
Contact us to learn more.