5G Positioning as a backup to GPS (for more than location)

By Len Schuch, GM 5G Positioning

The reliance on GPS today

When most people think of GPS they think about using Uber, Waze or their lunch order,  but GPS is far more embedded in everyday lives, way beyond our common understanding. Many organizations and critical infrastructure operators rely on GPS for their operations.

Take for example operations at an airport and there is a disruption to GPS services. Fuel trucks, emergency services, loading vehicles, and others will all lose their tracking. There are many manual workarounds, but they take time and manpower – in an environment where delays in operations leads to a domino effect, the disruption becomes exponential.

Similar scenarios can be imagined for factories, ports, the military, hospitals, agriculture, warehouses, etc. ….

GPS has another fundamental issue, it requires Line of Sight (LoS) to a satellite, meaning that you cannot track assets indoors.

These are some of the reasons why enterprises and Governments are looking at Positioning Services over 5G, and in particular Private 5G as a backup to GPS.

Is GPS interruption a genuine threat?

There are a number of factors that could cause interruption to GPS services, some of which are natural, others are caused by humans. We know that GPS requires LoS, which is why for many years New York suffered because of its high skyline. Line of sight can also be affected by weather patterns or solar activity.

More recently, we have seen targeted attacks on GPS. It has been reported that the Russian Military has interrupted GPS in Ukraine during the war and that these interruptions have been felt throughout the Mediterranean region. In the UK, the Government showed in a study the disruption even a $50 GPS jammer could do. Like any system, there are vulnerabilities from cyber-attacks, be they political, terrorist, or criminal in origin, but the threat stands.

A UK Government paper estimated the cost of GPS interruption at $1 billion per day for the first five days and then rising with ever more catastrophic consequences in the UK alone.

Positioning over Private 5G – the natural backup choice

ASOCS’ Hermes is a positioning system using AI over a Private 5G Network. There are several benefits of using systems such as Hermes. Other than not requiring the additional costs and management of separate hardware and systems, Positioning over Private 5G allows for seamless real-time tracking of assets indoors and outdoors on a single network. Positioning coverage is an even larger area than the network coverage from Radio Units, and adding coverage is simple as additional Radio Units create a single larger radius, rather than a new data silo.

Take our example of the airport from earlier. If there is any interruption to GPS systems, all assets will continue to be tracked using the 5G network. Moreover, if a truck enters a hanger, Hermes will continue to track it as it moves to an area that has no GPS coverage.

5G comes in many forms, but Private 5G is the natural choice for enterprises. High performance is the base. With the ability to customize network slices and choose devices that utilize eMBB or URLLC, enhanced security, and ultimate mobility, a Private 5G network can be leveraged in any number of ways including Positioning Service without the need for additional hardware or systems.

Who’s moving to the adoption of network & positioning assurance?

Governments are looking to ensure critical infrastructure. System Integrators and network providers, including Telcos, are adding Hermes to their offering to their clients in order to provide peace of mind. Medium to large enterprises with the requirements of campus (indoor and outdoor positioning), stable, secure, and high-performance networks with mobility

To find out more about Private 5G, Positioning, or GPS backup, get in contact with us today.

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