The transition to 5G mobile technology promises massive improvements in mobile device data rates, improved coverage and connectivity as well as enhanced services. Achieving this, however, requires significant enhancements in network synchronization.
One of the biggest architectural changes that started with LTE Advanced and that will be key to 5G deployment is the centralizing, and ultimately, virtualization of baseband functions – a move that reduces deployment costs but introduces the need for tightly synchronized front- and mid-haul networks, with time alignment requirements in the sub-100 ns range.
For more information, see our video presentation about Paving the way for 5G synchronization.
Mobile device applications, such as the use of small-cell triangulation of precise location, will require even higher and more precise synchronization standards. Accurate time alignment can help identify the exact source of an emergency call, which in effect can make a difference between life and death.
The standard bodies are developing specifications that combine IEEE 1588 PTP with Synchronous Ethernet to meet the time delivery requirements of 5G, as well as techniques such as Assisted Partial Timing Support to allow the use of existing networks for backhaul.