The Importance of GPS (GNSS) Derived Timing

Most users think of GPS as a means of determining position, but the constellation of 24 satellites is also an excellent time keeper.  In addition to longitude, latitude and altitude, GNSS systems provide a critical fourth dimension –  time. Each satellite contains two Rubidium and two Cesium atomic clocks. These are monitored against atomic clocks on the ground, and the whole system is continuously calibrated against the world wide time standard, Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).  GPS receivers decode these signals, effectively synchronizing each receiver to the atomic clocks enabling users to determine time to within 100 billionths of a second, without the cost of owning, operating and maintaining atomic clocks. Synchronization is now regarded as equally important to the output power of any cell site.

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