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Industry News / Test and Measurement

Agilent Adds Geolocation Methods Using RF Sensor Networks

March 1, 2011
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Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced three enhanced methods for real-time radio frequency (RF) emitter geolocation using a network of Agilent N6841A RF Sensors.

The new Agilent N6854A-AG1 software estimates position of a non-cooperative intermittent or short-duration RF signal using measurements from the sensor network and calculations using enhanced time-difference-of-arrival (TDOA) and received-signal-strength (RSS) techniques. Agilent’s proprietary hybrid algorithm optimizes RF emitter location with an adaptive technique that uses both TDOA and RSS information.

“Traditional direction-finding systems are ideal for obtaining the line of bearing on higher power and narrowband signals,” said Tom Burrell, Vice President of Agilent’s Signal Networks Division. “However, modern signals with complex modulations, wider bandwidths and short-durations required Agilent to improve on geolocation techniques such as TDOA and RSS. Having worked closely with Agilent’s Measurement Research Laboratory, we can now offer incredible geolocation performance on RF emitters.”

The new N6854A-AG1 software offers three techniques to cover different situations. Agilent optimized a traditional TDOA approach for outdoor measurements over long distances and with modulated signals that have wide bandwidths. For high multipath indoor or close-proximity deployments, Agilent’s optimized RSS technique is included. Agilent’s proprietary hybrid algorithm for both TDOA and RSS adapts the time of arrival and power measurements from the sensors, providing a robust solution in a broad variety of cases.

The N6854A depends on low-cost receivers such as the Agilent N6841A for accurate and timely geolocation of emitters. The N6841A RF Sensor has also been enhanced with 1 GB memory and improved RF performance. Utility software included with the sensor now adds simplified network management and configuration, signal-processing and data-access tools, and an enhanced application programming interface. The network interface allows the sensors to be distributed within a building, throughout a city or across the world.


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