China Unicom to Use u-blox Critical Timing Solutions for 5G Network Deployment

u-blox has announced that it will be providing critical timing technology to Chinese telecom operator, China Unicom, to boost its existing 4G network and prepare for the rollout of future 5G networks. China Unicom had announced in January that it wanted to buy 416,000 4G base stations, to extend its network’s reach, and strengthen its voice, data and Internet of Things support. Several telecom network equipment suppliers were chosen to fulfill the contract, several of which are u-blox customers.

Although the contract is for 4G, the new base stations need to meet the stricter timing accuracy requirements of 5G in order to allow for a smooth upgrade to the new mobile network standard. 5G networks will offer latencies of less than 1ms (compared with 10ms for 4G), ten times greater connection densities than 4G, and peak data rates of up to 20Gbit/s, twenty times more than 4G. Each of these factors demands greater timing accuracy than is needed in 4G to ensure the availability, latency and scalability of the 5G network.

In addition to positioning and navigation applications, GNSS signals are widely used as low‑cost precision time or frequency references used by remote or distributed wireless communication, industrial, financial, and power distribution equipment. By capitalizing on atomic clocks which are on-board positioning satellites, GNSS signals which contain embedded timing information can be used to synchronize equipment to within few nanoseconds, as well as provide accurate UTC time. For wireless communication networks, a precision time reference is mandatory.

u‑blox’s range of precision timing modules are able to fulfill this important reference function of GNSS signals for a fraction of the cost, power consumption, maintenance, size and weight of other technologies with comparable performance. The stand‑alone products provide accurate time pulses wherever GNSS signals are available, as well as precise disciplined frequency references with holdover. All of u‑blox’s precision timing products benefit from the company’s extensive applications experience and advanced technologies including:

  • Fast satellite acquisition by u‑blox’s intelligent signal capture algorithms
  • Location independent clock synchronization, even when only one satellite is in view
  • Weak signal optimization, interference removal and multipath mitigation allowing a small, low cost GPS antenna to be used indoors or within machinery
  • Flexible GNSS synchronized time pulse outputs at user-defined frequencies aligned to GNSS time or UTC

u-blox's future-proof timing technology is being used by multiple companies supplying base stations for this China Unicom contract. Click here to know more about u-blox’s critical timing technology and solutions.

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