Microchip Technology
0522 Mw Microchip Time Scale System Promo 6286a34dace95

It's About Time: System Backs GNSS to Further National Security

May 20, 2022
Microchip's Precise Time Scale System enables nations to operate an independent backup to GNSS, protecting critical infrastructure.

The Overview

Microchip Technology's Precise Time Scale System provides world-class timing accuracy that's traceable to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) without being dependent on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

Who Needs It & Why?

GNSS technology has been the backbone of nations' infrastructure timing requirements for several decades, going back to the Transit system developed by the U.S. DoD in the 1960s. But with national infrastructures around the globe being ever more dependent on timing accuracy, the pervasiveness of cybersecurity threats to GNSSs makes an alternate time system a matter of national security.

Microchip's Precise Time Scale System provides a backup that nations, institutions, critical infrastructure operators, and scientific labs can rely on to retain complete control over their critical timing source. When you think "critical infrastructure," think transportation systems, financial sectors, communications, and power utilities.

Under the Hood

The Precise Time Scale System (PTSS) is a fully integrated system capable of providing timing accuracies comparable to the world’s best national laboratories. The core products integrated into the PTSS begin with the SyncSystem 4380A Time Scale Edition. It generates an autonomous time scale derived from combining sever­al highly accurate independent clocks with a multichannel instrument for measuring and comparing clock performance.

The second element of the system is the Time Scale Orchestrator, a software platform providing a unified view with a built-in database. It integrates the management, monitoring, alarming, and reporting functions of the individual prod­ucts that form the time scale system.

Lastly, the 5071A Cesium Clock Primary Frequency Standard and MHM 2020 Active Hydrogen Maser are Microchip’s atomic clocks,. They provide accurate and stable frequencies that are continuously measured against each other to compute and generate the ensemble time scale frequency. 

The PTSS integrates the new portfolio of time scale products into a turnkey solution, available in a single rack and guaranteed by a complete Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) that exceeds the most stringent requirements. The system offers nations the ability to operate their own time scale system independently and efficiently—aligned to UTC as calculated by the Bureau International des Poids et Measure (BIPM)—within the borders of their country.

Microchip's SyncServer S600/S650 and TimeProvider 4100 time servers are integrated into the system to deliver Trusted Time to critical infrastructure using both Network Time Protocol (NTP) and Precision Time Protocol (PTP).

If one is constructing their own time scale systems, the elements of the PTSS can be supplied individually to provide core time scale functions, e.g., clock measurement and clock ensemble generation, along with system management, monitoring, and performance reporting. Such system modularity gives timekeepers the ability to procure the system over time as budgets permit and technology evolves.

About the Author

David Maliniak | Executive Editor, Microwaves & RF

I am Executive Editor of Microwaves & RF, an all-digital publication that broadly covers all aspects of wireless communications. More particularly, we're keeping a close eye on technologies in the consumer-oriented 5G, 6G, IoT, M2M, and V2X markets, in which much of the wireless market's growth will occur in this decade and beyond. I work with a great team of editors to provide engineers, developers, and technical managers with interesting and useful articles and videos on a regular basis. Check out our free newsletters to see the latest content.

You can send press releases for new products for possible coverage on the website. I am also interested in receiving contributed articles for publishing on our website. Use our contributor's packet, in which you'll find an article template and lots more useful information on how to properly prepare content for us, and send to me along with a signed release form. 

About me:

In his long career in the B2B electronics-industry media, David Maliniak has held editorial roles as both generalist and specialist. As Components Editor and, later, as Editor in Chief of EE Product News, David gained breadth of experience in covering the industry at large. In serving as EDA/Test and Measurement Technology Editor at Electronic Design, he developed deep insight into those complex areas of technology. Most recently, David worked in technical marketing communications at Teledyne LeCroy, leaving to rejoin the EOEM B2B publishing world in January 2020. David earned a B.A. in journalism at New York University.

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