Prepare today for timing disruptions tomorrow

November 13, 2018  - By

When a Pennsylvania county’s 911 system suddenly went down without warning, garbled messages across the network impacted fire and police agencies’ ability to respond to emergency messages. The issue was traced to a firmware malfunction on communications equipment, related to provision of GPS timing. The firmware had not been updated for 19-1/2 years. Why should it have been?  Everything was working fine — until it didn’t.

Test lab set-up. Photo: Orolia

Test lab set-up. Photo: Orolia

In addition to increased jamming and spoofing threats, GPS has a “week rollover event” set to happen in April 2019. If the GPS receivers found at the heart of many critical systems do not handle this properly, any number of failures can occur.

Without GPS timing, everything slows down, has less capacity and becomes more dangerous.

This Thursday, a complimentary webinar outlines test plans for GNSS equipment used in critical timing applications, discusses the need for assured access to accurate timing across financial institutions, industrial automation, telecommunications, transportation, the power grid and elsewhere — and defines just what “assured” access means and how crucial the “assured” part is — and finally reviews some recent mishaps and near-disasters caused by interrupted or inaccurate timing.

Speaking on the 1-hour webinar are Lisa Perdue, product manager and applications engineer, Orolia; Stefania Römisch, leader, the Atomic Standards Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Dana Goward, president, Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation.

Following each speaker’s 12- to 15-minute slide presentation, a live Q&A period with the audience will explore particular issues and concerns.

The webinar, taking place 1 p.m. ET Nov. 15, is sponsored by OroliaRegister here (free).