LightSquared’s latest plan to solve its GPS interference issues, announced in June, solved the problem for 99.75 percent of all GPS devices. However, there are still thousands of GPS devices that would not work properly if LightSquared’s wireless broadband network were to be deployed.
So the big question remains – can all GPS devices and the LightSquared network co-exist?
The company is currently working with three high-tech companies to develop inexpensive, efficient solutions. LightSquared says a majority of precision GPS devices can be fixed by replacing the external antenna, others will require a factory retrofit.
The first GPS device manufacturer to bring LightSquared compatible receivers to the marketplace is Javad GNSS. At a live news conference last week, the companies showed an external antenna roughly the size of an enterprise Wi-Fi access point and a ceramic filter smaller than a pencil.
Javad would make the filter and incorporate it into the antenna, which would cost under $300 and could be easily swapped with external filters on receivers in the field, the companies said. Retrofitting receivers with internal antennas would cost about $200 each, according to LightSquared.
Javad Ashjaee, CEO of Javad said, “With the U.S. government’s modernization program in effect, many legacy receivers will be obsolete in several years regardless.”
Two other companies have created LightSquared compatible components that can be integrated into receivers. For example, PCTEL has developed LightSquared compatible chip sets, and Partron America has created a filtering component that only costs $6.
These solutions will undergo extensive FCC testing in the next few weeks. Results are expected in November.