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In GNSS what is a cycle slip?


A cycle slip is the temporary loss of lock of a tracked GNSS signal. There are three fundamental causes of temporary loss of lock:

  1. Signal obstruction possibly caused by:
    • buildings
    • trees
    • terrain
  2. Low SNR possibly caused by:
    • multi-path
    • interference
    • high receiver dynamics
    • low satellite elevation
    • verybad atmospheric attenuation
  3. Internal receiver tracking problems possibly caused by: 
    • creeping clock bias reset
    • incorrect signal processing

Cycle slips are a real problem in high precision applications where carrier phase measurements are used.  The cycle slip means that carrier phase tracking must start over and the solution accuracy is temporally degraded. A simulator can be used to induce cycle slips by simulating the first two fundamental causes.

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