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LightSquared: GPS Testing Was Rigged
Company Claims Entire Process Bogus, Shrouded in Secrecy
by Karl Bode 02:29PM Wednesday Jan 18 2012
LightSquared has been under fire for the fact that tests have shown that their proposed hybrid LTE/satellite network interferes with GPS signals. LightSquared has proposed several low cost antenna solutions they claim could fix the problems (at the GPS industry's expense). The company's problems were compounded this week by a new report by a Federal Advisory board that there is "no practical solutions or mitigations" that will solve the GPS issues. Fighting for their network's life, LightSquared this morning held a press conference in which they effectively argued the entire testing process was rigged:
quote:
LightSquared said today that the process used to test GPS devices by Air Force Space Command on behalf of the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee (PNT EXCOM) was rigged by manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results, and revealed details of the testing to document its accusations.
To help prove their claims, the company trotted out Edmond Thomas, who was formerly the chief engineer at the FCC but is now a paid consultant for LightSquared. Thomas and LightSquared claims that the testing conducted by Air Force Space Command on behalf of the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Executive Committee (PNT EXCOM) was conducted in total secrecy, involved selectively choosing discontinued hardware with limited to no filters for testing, and that the process selected an "extremely conservative definition of failure" unrelated to real world GPS performance intended to increase failure rates.

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StLCardsFan

join:2011-06-06
Lafayette, LA
Reviews:
·LUS Fiber

Up Shyt creek

the fact of the matter is ...Lightsquared ... youre FKD. Even the remote possibility of interfering with GPS (which the entire US population depends on now) will lead you down the road to nowhere.

GPS is just one of those things where excess unused capacity is a good thing and was designed as such for a very good reason.

FutureMon
Ach Du Lieber
Premium,ExMod 2002-05
join:2000-10-05
Seaside, CA

Re: Up Shyt creek

The last thing we need is for someone's Lightsquared internet connection while they are doing a speed test here at BBR to interfere with the GPS signal of an intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at our enemies

- FM

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY

Re: Up Shyt creek

said by FutureMon:

The last thing we need is for someone's Lightsquared internet connection while they are doing a speed test here at BBR to interfere with the GPS signal of an intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at our enemies

- FM

Where is this hypothetical enemy located? Any supposed interference would be in the continental US not anywhere else in the world. Also why does the missile not have better filters to block out the type of interference that is claimed to result from Lightsquared use of their assigned frequencies (which are not allocated to GPS usage but are being seen by the GPS equipment which are looking at the Lightsquared frequencies when they should be ignoring them.
Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1

Re: Up Shyt creek

The last time I dealt with ICBMs was as a Launch Crew Commander, the missiles didn't use GPS for guidance.

FutureMon
Ach Du Lieber
Premium,ExMod 2002-05
join:2000-10-05
Seaside, CA
@Austinloop - ya learn something new every day.

Prior to learning that, however, I was going to reply to RARPSL with the following (which now would appear I'd have been talking out of my a$$ but it would have been my logical assumption)

1) We have lots and lots of missile silo's throughout the country. Think Kansas. These things have got to go over our land on their way to their destination, wherever that may be.

2) Why would these preinstalled GPS systems on the missiles require a filter to block out interference that has not been present due to the exclusive use of the band up until now. They'd presumably have to retrofit all the missiles with new filters to do such blocking if Lightsquared had the capability of encroaching on the signal space.
--
Q: How many theoretical physicists specializing in general relativity does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to hold the bulb and one to rotate the universe.
StLCardsFan

join:2011-06-06
Lafayette, LA
Reviews:
·LUS Fiber

Re: Up Shyt creek

ive thought about this some ... quite a bit actually. I think having the public network so close to guidance systems has doom written all over it.

I mean really ... look at something as simple as a hacker unlocking/locking/starting/disabling cars ... i dont think we need the entire world having access to GPS frequencies. True ..one could say that millions have GPS receivers ...but thats the point ...receive only.

I am no radiospectrum scientist ...but even the remote possibility could prove to be catastrophic.

YOu dont get the 777 dreamliner back ...nor the JDAM bomb once its set off course with GPS interference.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY

Re: Up Shyt creek

said by StLCardsFan:

YOu dont get the 777 dreamliner back ...nor the JDAM bomb once its set off course with GPS interference.

I disagree - If you are flying from NYC to London you just need to head east initially. You correct and refine your course as you travel and the closer to your destination, you more accurate you need to be about your location and course. Also most of your trip will be out of the range of any supposed Lightquared interference and it will correct itself - Just like your car GPS corrects its directions if you deviate from its directions.
Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1

Re: Up Shyt creek

Nice idea, but while still in the U.S. and the GPS is, essentially, being jammed by LS, the possibility of two aircraft trying to occupy the same space at the same time exists and is an unacceptable situation.
StLCardsFan

join:2011-06-06
Lafayette, LA
Reviews:
·LUS Fiber

1 edit
ah i see ...with jet fuel ranging from 6-8 dollars a gallon and human pilots being divine ... free from errors ...and air traffic being at its highest point in history... a few hundred miles off course is no big deal. That wont cost anything extra at all.

Everything from airliners, freight trains, even delivery trucks rely on GPS for guidance and navigation.

Personally ... Id love for the bomb-train (ya know miles of ethanol, depleted uranium, ethylene, diesel fuel, missile components, solid rocket fuel, or any of a massive list of highly volatile, toxic, explosive, or radioactive materials ) to miss a signal due to someone downloading some pr0n and assplow into a bridge crossing the mississippi river ...or derail into anytown, USA.

I dont see any risk at all heh.

Im all for faster and/or better internet for the masses ..but not this particular method.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY
said by FutureMon:

@Austinloop - ya learn something new every day.

Prior to learning that, however, I was going to reply to RARPSL with the following (which now would appear I'd have been talking out of my a$$ but it would have been my logical assumption)

1) We have lots and lots of missile silo's throughout the country. Think Kansas. These things have got to go over our land on their way to their destination, wherever that may be.

2) Why would these preinstalled GPS systems on the missiles require a filter to block out interference that has not been present due to the exclusive use of the band up until now. They'd presumably have to retrofit all the missiles with new filters to do such blocking if Lightsquared had the capability of encroaching on the signal space.

Here is the response that I would make to your query. When you launch the missile it can be operating from built-in initial directions and then operate on the GPS signals as it acquires them. You car GPS goes into "Recomputing" mode when you divert from your route or when you lose the signal (go into tunnel or have the signal blocked). The missile would work the same way. As soon as it gets away from the Continental US it will get a clear signal and reset its path. So long as it has good initial directions it will correct in flight. It only needs accurate readings for mid-flight and final approach - Just being aimed in the correct direction is all that is needed at launch time.
Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1

Re: Up Shyt creek

However, the last time I dealt with ICBMs, once valid launch commands were accepted, all external communication was terminated, i.e. no signals in, so when the missile left the silo, it was on its own, with only internal guidance.

FutureMon
Ach Du Lieber
Premium,ExMod 2002-05
join:2000-10-05
Seaside, CA
You're not thinking evil enough.

Bad people would want these things to never get outside the continental U.S. So the possibility of it never getting a chance to recompute exists.

- FM
--
Q: How many theoretical physicists specializing in general relativity does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to hold the bulb and one to rotate the universe.

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2

1 recommendation

You kidding me?

Everyone knows lightning fast wireless Pr0N is more important than things like weapons guidance, airliners and the 100's of other uses for GPS.
--
Petty people are disproportionally corrupted by petty power

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit

Lightsquared buying old FCC insider to get leverage?

Is LS using the contacts of a previous FCC head engineer, that is now a Lightsquared consultant, as a way to reach and influence or discredit current FCC policies? It wouldn't be the 1st time an FCC insider has sold themselves to the people they used to regulate.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Isn't that kinda the point of testing?

[Testing] was conducted in total secrecy, involved selectively choosing discontinued hardware with limited to no filters for testing, and that the process selected an "extremely conservative definition of failure" unrelated to real world GPS performance intended to increase failure rates.

Isn't that kind of the point of testing? Not the secrecy part, but testing with older devices with conservative definitions/limits? If oil companies developed a new fuel formula, don't you think that they would test it not only with the newest vehicles, but also with older models?

With something like GPS, I think it would be the safer approach to err on the side of caution rather then be liberal and approve something that may work with newest devices, but would break millions of existing ones without some type of an upgrade.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Re: Isn't that kinda the point of testing?

said by cdru:

Isn't that kind of the point of testing? Not the secrecy part, but testing with older devices with conservative definitions/limits? If oil companies developed a new fuel formula, don't you think that they would test it not only with the newest vehicles, but also with older models?

This is true but in LightSquared's warped sense of reality, those of us with GPS receivers should scrap our paid off equipment and buy new to cover up their spectrum pollution which may or may not work regardless. Hopefully the FCC and government can run out the clock on this company so they collapse under the weight of all their expenses. The next milestone will be January 31st when Sprint can decide to grant another extension to their collaboration or pull the plug.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

hbgraul

@rr.com

Lightsquared and lies

I don't consider myself able to participate in any technical discussion of the specifics, but when I learned that the whole business is the brain child of a suspect investment banker I smelled lies in the wind immediately, they being the sort of snakes that brought the economy low a few years back.

Flibbetigibb

@lmco.com

Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

The Air Force doesn't give a rat's ass about commercial GPS vendors. Their concern is LightSquared interfering with military GPS receivers, and rightly so. Bombs being jammed by LightSquared's kludgey network and guiding to the wrong place would be, um, bad.
JBear

join:2005-02-24
canada

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

Maybe Iran will want to inquire about this technology?
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
Do "smart" bombs use GPS? As LightSquared has shown, GPS is seemingly easy to jam.

I thought smart bombs (i.e. cruise missiles) determined their location using internal terrain maps combined with real-time RADAR/LIDAR. They follow major terrain and literally "recognize" their target in an almost "visual" sense. This approach is very tough to fool and jam. Provided the internal maps are current, it's pretty hard for an adversary to hide/relocate a large geographic feature like a mountain or valley in an effort to send the bomb off-course.

Flibbetigibb

@lmco.com

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

Look up "JDAM" when Wikipedia comes back online...
25139889

join:2011-10-25
Toledo, OH

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

wiki is NOT a valid source for reference. And wiki is up online if you translate and use another country. so their "blackout" FAILED.

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

You just hit esc before the black out loads. But it did not fail. Wikipedia has advertised the issue to more people than anyone else.

JDAM

@comcast.net
Then look up JDAM anywhere else on the internet and find...pretty much the same information as on Wikipedia.

r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44

2 recommendations

said by 25139889:

wiki is NOT a valid source for reference. And wiki is up online if you translate and use another country. so their "blackout" FAILED.

wiki has links to valid sources. That is what people use it for.
As for the blackout it is Javascript so all you need to do is disable JS or hit stop really fast while the page is loading to stop the JS cover from loading.

The block was to help people like you who have no idea how technology works to learn how our government wants to control the internet.
Your post = fail
--
...brought to you by Carl's Jr.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
I agree. Light-squared needs to prove that they don't interfere with all existing receiver+antenna combinations. Providing a workaround isn't enough, people expect to install their GPS systems and not worry about them again.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
Yeah, in case they needed to bomb targets within the United States, while LightSquared was operating in the area....

However, I think LightSquared is screwed, although they did make a few valid points.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

DaveRickmers

join:2011-07-19
Canyon Country, CA

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

GPS is also used to navigate airplanes. Not just for imaginary missiles. Airplanes full of people.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

Yes, but that doesn't require accuracy down to a couple of feet or inches. As of yet, pilots still land and take off the planes.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini
Austinloop

join:2001-08-19
Austin, TX
kudos:1

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

I would have to disagree with you on this one. While manual input maybe used in the actual decent angle and flare out of the aircraft prior to touchdown, it is really nice to be perfectly lined up with the runway as the final part of the the decent occurs.

Being about 50 feet off the ground in 200 tons of aircraft in a severe fog is not the time to find out you are left, or right of center line by a more than just a few feet.

I have been there flying airborne radar approaches during inclement weather (California has some really nasty fog in places.).

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

Again, accuracy down to a couple of yards vs a couple of feet. It's still good enough. I'm not saying Lightsquared is correct but these doomsday scenarios people put forth of epic GPS failure due to Lightsquared isn't accurate.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Flibbetigibb

@lmco.com
You mean like the live bomb drop tests that happen all the time on military ranges inside the US?

Nah, it wouldn't matter at all if LightSquared were operating in, say, Las Vegas or Pensacola or Los Angeles. Nobody lives there...

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Damn skippy they used a conservative definition of failure.

You haven't been following the discussion. LightSquared doesn't completely jam GPS, but it can interfere with precision positioning made possible by using many different satellites including ones that are at the far limits of range and have frequency shifted via the doppler effect.

So, it's possible that LightSquared operating near a bomb range could cause a GPS guided test missile to miss the target by several yards vs a foot or two..... Yes..... but go way off target and threaten personnel or civilians away from the target.... not a chance.

Also I am unaware of guided bombs that fall by gravity being GPS based. They may have them, but I am unaware of them. That would seem inherently dangerous to me.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

deheza

join:2004-06-10
Allen, TX

They want us to pay to correct their interference problem!!

I've been in the RF communication field since 1954. Mostly Avionics and Marine electronics and communication. I know the frequencies they propose to use would interfere with GPS. Their attitude is personal, small business ( Farmers and Surveyors ), Airlines, Marine users and Military just need to purchase new GPS equipment and all will be OK.
I feel the same way about BPL internet; the interference problems are too big to make it practical. The faster BPL internet is, the more interference it creates. When the interference is cut to a dull roar it is slow enough that it's not very marketable.
--
RoadRunner, QuantumVoice, Future-Nine, Vitelity, CallWithUs, TutTele, NuFone, Stanaphone

A stable system doesn't have enough features.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

brooklyn bridge of spectrum

someone sold this company a bill of goods on this spectrum... that's turned out to be fools gold.

nevertheless, with AT&T and Verizon duopolizing the (wireless) industry-- companies squatting on spectrum are NOT going to be getting any NEW spectrum (other than the deals in process excluding lightsquared) anytime soon.

this makes you wonder why the major carriers are crying poor when consumers want unlimited bandwidth. sure, some congestion management and FAIR USE POLICY should begin to apply but the carriers have NEVER historically proven that they ran out of spectrum. what was at fault was the LACK OF BUILDOUT of the current spectrum with INVESTMENTS in NEW technology (such as 4g) and redundancy of footprint-- using the SAME frequencies. today's technology is thousands of times more efficient than old analog cell service per MHZ.

sundrop
Premium
join:2004-08-21
Springfield, MO

Bigger Fish

Being as how over the last year we have "accidentally" dropped several BLU-110/B at the wrong target. I say there is bigger issue's the (PNT EXCOM) needs to handle.

r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44

Why wont they give up?

They built their business model on being able to trick the FCC to approve the spectrum they knew would cause interference from day one.
Good thing the FCC could not be bought this time.
Now they are in bash FCC mode, i guess they think they can somehow arm twist to get their waiver approved.
--
...brought to you by Carl's Jr.

nodog

@fluor.com

GPS is interfering with LightSquared

Read »www.forbes.com/sites/danielfishe···l-sides/

errno

@comcast.net

Re: GPS is interfering with LightSquared

Receiving outside spectrum isn't interference, transmitting is. Lightsquareds power output will bleed into GPS due to the high power considering adjacent signals are supposed to be satellite based.