Simulating GPS radio signal to synchronize network-a new technique for redundant timing

QingXiao Shan, Y. Jun, Jean-Michel Le Floch, Yaohui Fan, Eugene Ivanov, Michael Tobar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, many distributed systems such as 3G mobile communications and power systems are time synchronized with a Global Positioning System (GPS) signal. If there is a GPS failure, it is difficult to realize redundant timing, and thus time-synchronized devices may fail. In this work, we develop time transfer by simulating GPS signals, which promises no extra modification to original GPS-synchronized devices. This is achieved by applying a simplified GPS simulator for synchronization purposes only. Navigation data are calculated based on a pre-assigned time at a fixed position. Pseudo-range data which describes the distance change between the space vehicle (SV) and users are calculated. Because real-time simulation requires heavy-duty computations, we use self-developed software optimized on a PC to generate data, and save the data onto memory disks while the simulator is operating. The radio signal generation is similar to the SV at an initial position, and the frequency synthesis of the simulator is locked to a pre-assigned time. A filtering group technique is used to simulate the signal transmission delay corresponding to the SV displacement. Each SV generates a digital baseband signal, where a unique identifying code is added to the signal and up-converted to generate the output radio signal at the centered frequency of 1575.42 MHz (L1 band). A prototype with a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) has been built and experiments have been conducted to prove that we can realize time transfer. The prototype has been applied to the CDMA network for a three-month long experiment. Its precision has been verified and can meet the requirements of most telecommunication systems. © 2014 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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