Resilient PNT: How to Detect, Protect and Prevent Disruption of GPS/GNSS/PNT Signals and Sources

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For the last two decades, reliance upon GPS/GNSS for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) by civilian applications has been an overwhelming success, providing increasingly accurate and reliable PNT information everywhere for free. 

However, in recent years, malicious threats have emerged have exposed the Achilles heel of GPS/GNSS: Its weak power and unencrypted signal format leave it vulnerable to jamming and spoofing. The loss of PNT information can result in rare but catastrophic events, crippling critical infrastructure that is necessary for our survival.

Fortunately, there are many alternative technologies available to augment GPS and provide accurate and reliable PNT information even under extremely adverse conditions. These include: 

  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO) PNT satellite signals – operating close to the Earth, with signal strengths ~1000x stronger than GPS, to overcome jamming. And, encrypted to prevent spoofing. 
  • Miniaturized, affordable atomic clocks to provide precise time internally – which is the foundation of every positioning system – without connection to, or reliance on, outside sources which could corrupt the precision. 
  • Fiber optic network time distribution via secure, high accuracy protocols.

In a new white paper, I discuss these alternative technologies and offer recommendations for procedures and processes to manage and avoid the risks of cyberattacks, applying the best practices known today. I focus on Resilient PNT and describe the strategies, technologies and procedures to avoid these cybersecurity risks and ensure the continuity of any critical operation.

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John Fischer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Fischer

For more than 15 years, John has been part of Orolia, where he works with global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), wireless, positioning navigation and timing (PNT),and specialized systems for our customers. Prior to joining Orolia, he specialized in wireless telecom as a founding member of two startups: Aria Wireless in 1990 and Clearwire Technologies in 1997. At Clearwire, he served as Chief Technology Officer in creating wireless broadband equipment for Internet connectivity. Early in his career, John worked as a systems engineer in radar, EW and command and control systems at Sierra Research and Comptek Research. He holds Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees in electrical engineering and computing engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.