5G communications networks rely on high-precision source clocks that lock to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). If the GNSS timing reference is lost or impaired, calls will drop and data services will dramatically slow down or stop altogether. Highly dense 5G architectures often require a 10× increase in the number of nodes and GNSS traceable source clocks, but ideally, operators could avoid the expense and security exposure of installing GNSS receivers in every clock node.

The virtual Primary Reference Time Clock (vPRTC) timing architecture uses a secure fiber network to provide bi-directional east and west timing flows to local source clocks in aggregation sites with 100 ns of accuracy. The protected PTP southbound timing flow is then sent to the 5G Remote Radio Heads (RRHs). A key benefit of this architecture is that the GNSS receivers are only required in the core enhanced Primary Reference Timing Clock (ePRTC) sites where they can be protected and monitored to shield the network from the risk of GNSS jamming or spoofing threats.

This white paper highlights the impact of timing on 5G applications and the technical and financial drivers associated with network-based timing services using PTP. If you are looking for help articulating technical or business cases relative to 5G timing use cases and architectures, please download the paper here.

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