Effects of the April 1st, 2014 GLONASS Outage on GNSS Receivers

Monday, 15 December 2014
Frederick Blume1, Henry T Berglund1, Ignacio Romero2 and Elisabetta D'Anastasio3, (1)UNAVCO, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Soluciones Avanzadas Canarias S.L., Telde, Spain, (3)GNS Science, Lower Hutt, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
The use of multi-constellation GNSS receivers has been assumed as a way to increase system integrity both by increased coverage during normal operations and failover redundancy in the event of a constellation failure. At approximately 21:00 UTC on April 1st the entire GLONASS constellation was disrupted as illegal ephemeris uploaded to each satellite took effect simultaneously. The outage continued for more than 10 hours.

While ephemeris were incorrect, pseudoranges were correctly broadcast on both L1 and L2 and carrier phases were not affected; in the best case, GNSS receivers could be expected to continue to track all signals including GLONASS and at the worst to continue to track GPS and other constellations.

It became clear to operators of the GeoNet network in New Zealand that the majority of their 79 GLONASS-enabled receivers experienced total tracking failures. Further detailed analysis of data from these and 315 additional GLONASS-enabled stations worldwide showed that receiver tracking behavior was affected for most receiver brands and models, both for GLONASS and GPS.

Findings regarding the impacts of the GLONASS outage on receiver behavior will be highlighted. We use data recorded by GLONASS enabled global sites for the days during, preceding and following the outage to evaluate the impact of the outage on tracking and positioning performance. We observe that for some receiver types the onboard receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) failed to ignore the incorrect messages, resulting in degraded GLONASS and GPS tracking and in some cases complete tracking failures and significant data loss. In addition, many of the receivers with clock steering enabled showed outliers in their receiver clock bias estimates that also coincided with the outage. Our results show in detail how different brands, configurations, and distributions of receivers were affected to varying extents, but no common factors are apparent.

This event shows that many manufacturers' current receiver technology was not yet ready for all failure scenarios and that tracking multiple constellations hindered rather than helped during this outage. Network operators should reevaluate their system configuration and GNSS upgrade strategies while receiver manufacturers work to ensure that systems behave properly in the future.