Oscilloquartz launches enhanced PRTC system for 5G network timing

June 21, 2018  - By

Oscilloquartz has launched its enhanced primary reference time clock (ePRTC) system to enable unprecedented timing accuracy and stability, even when the GNSS signal is lost.

The system provides a timing source for mission-critical transport systems, such as utility networks, government infrastructure and radio access networks, and provides the strict synchronization needed for LTE-A and 5G applications, the company said.

The Oscilloquartz 3230B.

Featuring the OSA 3230B ePRC atomic cesium clock connected to an Oscilloquartz clock combiner and grandmaster, the new solution offers the extremely stable frequency of a cesium clock with the UTC-traceable signal provided by GNSS.

When combined with the OSA 5430, the OSA ePRTC system provides full hardware redundancy and multiple fan-out options including PTP over 10Gbit/s.

“With our ePRTC system, we’re taking reliability and accuracy to the next level. This solution meets the requirements of next-generation mobile networks, offers the precise synchronization needed by many of today’s industries and removes vulnerability to GNSS outages,” said Gil Biran, general manager, Oscilloquartz.

The Oscilloquartz OSA 5430.

“Combining our advanced multi-constellation GNSS receiver with our atomic cesium clock technology creates an outstandingly accurate source of time with guaranteed holdover performance,” Biran said. “This provides vital protection against loss of satellite signal due to jamming, which can be a major problem.

“With the flexibility and redundancy of our OSA 5430, operators can deploy a precise, secure and robust UTC-traceable time and frequency source with high capacity. What’s more, the Syncjack sync probing and assurance technology embedded in our ePRTC enables detection and reporting of inconsistencies between the different references provided to the ePRTC as well as detection of the GNSS spoofing.”

GNSS interference concerns

The dangers of reliance on GNSS alone have become a serious concern across a wide range of industries. Without backup, loss of signal would have a profound impact on critical infrastructure, financial institutions, and military capabilities.

PTP packet-based mobile networks are also highly susceptible to outages unless they are able to hold time and maintain accuracy when GNSS is unavailable.

The OSA ePRTC system removes this vulnerability while delivering higher performance levels than standard PRTC systems and giving operators control of their network synchronization.

The solution comprises two OSA devices: an OSA 3230B ePRC cesium clock compliant to G.811.1 ePRC, which is connected to either an OSA 5421 or OSA 5430 clock combiner and grandmaster clock compliant to G.8272.1 ePRTC. This provides phenomenal holdover accurate to UTC within +/-100 nanoseconds for up to two weeks, ensuring resilience and optimized performance.

“Our OSA ePRTC system is about leveraging the advantages of both timing methods, ensuring the long-term accuracy of GNSS alongside the stability of a cesium beam atomic clock. It even provides major benefits when locked to GNSS by delivering a three-fold improvement in timing accuracy,” said Nir Laufer, product line director, Oscilloquartz.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a big increase in GNSS vulnerabilities due to deliberate spoofing and jamming attacks as well as the natural threats of solar flares and space weather events,” Laufer said. “From global data centers to government institutions, there’s now an urgent need to move away from reliance on GNSS alone. Ensuring backup is now a mandatory step towards secure synchronization. And with our OSA ePRTC, this can be achieved without adding a lot of cost and complexity. We’re giving operators peace of mind and the power to do more with existing infrastructure.”