03 Nov 2017

Versatile IEEE 1588 Grandmaster with extensive port fan-out

Microsemi has announced the launch of its TimeProvider 4100, a highly flexible IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) grandmaster clock designed to scale from the edge to the aggregation layers of both mobile infrastructure and access networks.

The TimeProvider 4100 is a gateway clock, a new class of synchronization product which accepts multiple inputs from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE), 1588 PTP and E1/T1 digital transmission links, and distributes timing flows to multiple endpoints such as base stations. A gateway clock benefits from multiple layers of protection leveraging other assets in the core of the network. TimeProvider 4100 is a best-in-class 1588 grandmaster complemented by extensive port fan-out for PTP, Network Time Protocol (NTP), SyncE and legacy building integrated timing supplies (BITS). With multiple ports for current, legacy and future networks which can be connected to multiple base stations for 4G and 5G deployments, the device offers customers a cost-effective solution that can be easily adapted for a wide variety of use cases.

Mobile operators face tough requirements to drastically increase mobile bandwidth while efficiently leveraging the available spectrum. Cellular networks using only frequency synchronization waste significant spectrum, whereas newer deployments require phase synchronization for efficient spectrum usage and interference mitigation in increasingly densified networks. Phase synchronization is imperative for next-generation service deployment. To that end, operators need timing solutions capable of supporting legacy infrastructure and evolving network needs. Microsemi’s TimeProvider 4100 is engineered to provide phase to today’s 4G, LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) deployments, as well as tomorrow’s cRAN evolutions and 5G networks.

Primarily targeting the mobile market, operators and data centers for mobile operator environments, over time the TimeProvider 4100’s platform will also serve mobile network needs associated with machine-to-machine (M2M), internet of things (IoT) and autonomous vehicle applications. The device’s platform can be expanded through an internal module, providing customer savings such as power and rack space, and enables great scalability through sub-tenancy mechanisms. TimeProvider 4100 also features port fan-out which can be flexibly used for PTP, NTP, E1/T1, 1 pulse per second (PPS), time of day (ToD) and 10 megahertz (MHz) at the aggregation layer.

“With our ongoing commitment to delivering system products, Microsemi has demonstrated our leadership in the IEEE 1588 grandmaster market with more than 400 operator deployments worldwide,” said Eric Colard, director of product line management for Microsemi. “We are pleased to leverage this expertise to deliver the TimeProvider 4100. With eight Ethernet ports and four BITS E1/T1 ports in the base unit, TimeProvider 4100 provides a very feature-rich gateway clock device.”

Microsemi's TimeProvider family serves the mobile infrastructure market, which is expected by market research firm IHS Markit to be approximately $48 billion in 2018, with hardware expected to account for approximately 62 percent of the market. The TimeProvider family is designed to capitalize on growth opportunities related to 5G installations, beginning with trial installations in 2018, growing to a market size of $2.8 billion by 2021 according to the firm’s “Mobile Infrastructure Intelligence Service – 3Q17 Market Tracker.”

Importantly, the new device’s flexibility does not compromise its performance and feature set, and meets stringent precise timing requirements, including complying with primary reference time clock (PRTC) and the latest time and phase ITU-T and IEEE industry standards. It supports GNSS constellations including GPS, Beidou, Glonass and Galileo. Available upgrades include oscillator options for enhanced holdover performance and an internal expansion module which adds 16 E1/T1 BITS ports to the device. The TimeProvider 4100 also accepts PTP input with assisted partial timing support (APTS) to back up the GNSS signal in case of signal loss for high resiliency of the solution by leveraging 1588v2 grandmasters already deployed at the core of the network.

TimeProvider 4100 can be managed through Microsemi’s timing and synchronization management platform, TimePictra. In addition, for phase, service providers require more visibility about performance and health of the various network elements participating in the synchronization chain. TimeProvider provides advanced monitoring capabilities, especially for IEEE 1588v2 PTP for phase, and leverages a WebGUI to present results and calculations for easier interpretation.

In addition to its TimeProvider family, Microsemi also offers highly comprehensive and cost-effective IEEE 1588 and SyncE network synchronization silicon solutions providing time stamping, ultralow jitter (for up to 100G PHYs), IEEE 1588 protocol support (including the ITU-T telecom profile for frequency and phase) and an established client servos used by numerous carriers worldwide. The solutions offered are used by all major equipment vendors across the globe in a variety of wireless and wireline applications and work seamlessly with Microsemi’s full range of TimeProvider equipment.

Microsemi’s TimeProvider 4100 is available for sampling now, with general availability coming in the first quarter of 2018.

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