To conceal his personal use of a GPS-tracked company vehicle, a New Jersey man plugged a $30.00 GPS jammer into his cigarette lighter and drove along an interstate that passed Newark International Airport. The jammer interfered with GPS signals trying to reach the air-traffic control tower and caused a major disruption of flight tracking information and activated backup systems. This event in 2013 was among the first to publicize the vulnerability of GPS systems to easily accessible jamming devices and why our reliance on GPS systems is one of the greatest risks to national security.
The backbone of GPS networks is the ability to communicate extremely precise time information (to millionths of a second) worldwide. In effect, GPS networks act as global timekeepers. (They even have their own time designation called “GPS system time”.) Cell phone towers, Wi-Fi networks, railroad systems, military communications, emergency response units, electrical power grids, traffic signals, and financial markets all depend on this precise time information. And the technology to deploy a jamming threat on any of them is relatively cheap and easy to build.
In response to this security risk, Metamagnetics, has developed an adaptive and highly selective filter technology that mitigates GPS jamming threats. Auto-Tune Filter (ATF) components respond by rapidly attenuating high-powered, in-band interference signals, while allowing the appropriate low power GPS signals to propagate unaltered. Auto-tune filters can be easily incorporated into a GPS module behind the antenna and in front of the receiver. To learn about GPS jamming threats and this exciting solution, download our tech brief.