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Role of synchronization in empowering 5G networks

Role of synchronization in empowering 5G networks

Elevating connectivity

Synchronization is the essential pulse of mobile networks, ensuring seamless operation and service delivery across all areas. For 5G networks, which rely on Time Division Duplex (TDD) technology, the synchronization requirements set by the 3GPP are particularly rigorous compared to those for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) systems, which operators are more familiar with. While the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) serves as a primary synchronization source, solely depending on it introduces a risk of a single point of failure. Synchronization ensures efficient communication, ultimately leading to optimal RAN performance and seamless data exchange.



Importance of synchronization in TDD network

Network synchronization is key to optimal RAN performance. LTE TDD, Elastic RAN, Advanced RAN Coordination, and NR TDD RAN technologies rely on strict frequency, time, and phase synchronization. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Precision Time Protocol (PTP) are the only two methods to meet the strict time requirement as per 3GPP. Recently, GNSS disruptions have increased as a result of natural occurrences such as solar flares, the accessibility of low-cost jamming equipment to individuals with malicious intent, and for security reasons.

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Key highlights

To understand how to boost the resilience of a mobile network’s synchronization solution, this paper gives a comprehensive picture of the recommendations that can be followed step by step, including:

  • right parameter setting
  • tracking multiple GNSS services
  • using multi-band in GNSS bands
  • using network-based secondary timing sources, especially cesium clock
  • over the air assisted time holdover
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Related content

Synchronization requirements and solutions

The need for synchronization in the RAN has grown as new radio technologies and network architectures emerge to boost efficiency and support demanding 5G use cases. Although the fundamental synchronization requirements have not become more stringent in 5G, the need for time synchronization has become much more critical.

Synchronization solutions in 5G transport network

Seamless synchronization operation is fundamental to unlock the full potential of 5G. To efficiently address RAN synchronization requirements, a good understanding of all the technology options for synchronization distribution in transport networks is essential.