The world depends on the Global Positioning System, but GPS is more than just a blue dot on a smartphone map. It’s a vital global utility.

GPS is part of a class of satellite constellations known as Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Together, GPS and other GNSS provide precise positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) information from space.

What is PNT?


where you are now


where you want to go


what the precise time is now

However, GPS and GNSS have some inherent vulnerabilities —
and are open to serious threats.

Lack of Strength

The GPS signal is essentially a “whisper” from satellites orbiting at an altitude of 12,500 miles. As such, the GPS signal is not that strong and not available everywhere.

Susceptible to Degradation

GPS is vulnerable to signal degradation by buildings, tunnels, tree canopies, and other obstructions. This creates a problem for PNT-dependent systems that are indoors or in other locations where GPS cannot easily reach.

Potential for Disruption

System outages, while rare, can have a profound impact on GPS availability or accuracy. And bad actors who deliberately attack GPS to disrupt or deny its legitimate use or disrupt its signal to give a false impression of one’s location pose an increasing threat.

These factors are why Satellite Time and Location (STL) is so important. STL goes where GPS and GNSS cannot — indoors and in other areas where GPS is unable to reach. With a powerful signal emanating from a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, STL is the ideal complement to GPS/GNSS.

The Impact of Losing GPS

What would life look like without GPS? A June 2019 report sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology estimated an economic loss of $1 billion per day in the U.S. alone. A GPS outage extended to 30 days resulted in a loss estimated to exceed $45 billion.

An Essential Backup to GPS

Counting on reliable PNT information is vitally important to the economy and security of our global society. GPS is incredible — but not always available and not very secure.

That’s why companies turn to Satelles.

Our STL service complements GPS, either as a primary source of time or a backup to ensure the survivability and resilience of critical infrastructure currently relying on GPS.

Installations of STL are completed quickly and easily the first time — saving time and money while providing precise timing synchronization and indoor coverage. It is as easy as connecting a device as small as a credit card to the equipment that needs the timing synchronization (e.g., router, 5G RAN gear, etc.) and attaching an indoor antenna that’s only about the size of a small pepper shaker that one might find in a restaurant.

STL is commercially available on a worldwide basis. Its robust features and ability to operate at high levels of technical performance make it ideal for a broad range of alternative PNT applications.

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Did you know?

A nanosecond is one-billionth of a second (i.e., 0.000000001 sec). This very brief period has big significance. In terms of GPS, a nanosecond is equivalent to approximately one foot (30 cm) of positioning accuracy.

A GPS-enabled smartphone is typically accurate to within about 16 feet. However, sometimes GPS satellite signals are blocked by buildings, bridges, or trees, and the signal can bounce off large structures or thick walls. When the signal is degraded, an error of 500 nanoseconds will miscalculate one’s position by nearly 500 feet.

Nanoseconds also matter for timing synchronization. Among the applications most sensitive to precise timing is a 5G wireless network, where accuracies of 65 to 240 nanoseconds are required for the network to remain fully operational and run at optimum performance. STL currently meets or exceeds these requirements.