Timing and synchronization are extremely important aspects of cellular communication networks. Frequency synchronization alone is enough to meet the requirements of older 2G and 3G networks, as well as LTE networks based on frequency-division-duplexing (FDD). However, LTE networks based on time-division-duplexing (TDD), LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks, and future 5G networks also require phase synchronization. Utilizing phase synchronization allows for efficient spectrum usage and interference mitigation, making it critical to satisfy the needs of higher-density networks.
One company that is addressing these challenges with its timing and synchronization solutions for current and future wireless networks is Microsemi. The company recently introduced the TimeProvider 4100, which is an IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) gateway clock that provides phase to 4G and 5G base stations (see photo). The TimeProvider 4100 offers multiple PTP profiles, and is designed to scale from the edge to the aggregation layers of both mobile infrastructure and access networks.
The TimeProvider 4100 is an IEEE 1588 gateway clock that can adapt to a wide variety of use cases.
The TimeProvider 4100 can receive multiple global-navigation satellite-system (GNSS) signals, such as Galileo, GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou. It also supports Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) inputs and outputs, as well as 1588 PTP and E1/T1 digital transmission links. Timing flows are distributed to multiple end points, such as base stations.
One benefit of the TimeProvider 4100 is flexibility, as its multiple ports enable it to support current, legacy, and future networks. These ports include four building integrated timing supplies (BITS) ports (E1/T1) and two pulse-per-second/time-of-day (1PPS/ToD) ports. The TimeProvider 4100 also has two 1PPS/10 MHz ports, one GNSS port, and one craft (RS-232) port. The unit also features eight Ethernet ports: two RJ-45 ports and six small form-factor pluggable (SFP) ports.
In addition, the base unit can be upgraded with an optional expansion module that provides 16 additional E1/T1 synchronization ports. Taking advantage of this expansion module therefore brings the total number of E1/T1 ports to 20 (four in the base unit, plus 16 more in the expansion module).
Resiliency and Other Features
A layered approach to protection equips the TimeProvider 4100 with resiliency. The GNSS signal can be backed up with Microsemi’s assisted partial timing support (APTS), which provides patented asymmetry compensation for time delay.
The next layer of protection involves upgrading the oscillator. Customers have the option of upgrading the standard oscillator to an oven-controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) or a rubidium oscillator that improves holdover performance. Furthermore, users can take advantage of the dual dc power inputs for power redundancy. Microsemi also offers geographical redundancy through network topology and failover, as two units are deployed—one active and one passive.
System management is an additional feature. The TimeProvider 4100 can be deployed with Microsemi’s TimePictra synchronization management system, enabling information monitoring and management capabilities for control of—and visibility into—the entire synchronization network. The solution can monitor both 1PPS and PTP traffic. TimePictra supports the standard fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security (FCAPS) management functions.