Is your network PhaseReady?

attend the Phase Ready Seminar from Chronos

Phase Ready?

As you think about the evolution of your network, don't limit your thoughts to the frequency stability you need now. We want to help ensure that network roll-outs today will still be relevant come the explosion of HetNets and Small Cells.

Is Your Backhaul Sync Available to You?

PDH and SDH/SONET core networks made life pretty easy for the NodeB that needed 50ppb timing for the Air Interface. The transport technology inherently carried traceable time, and this was available via the T1/E1 interface that carried your traffic. This timing quality was available whether this core network was yours or provided by a third party!

Now we're looking to a future of microsecond sync at the edge, and planning for how we get that level of synchronisation out there. Some of the backhaul technologies being mooted for Small Cells are TDD based and therefore need good synchronisation themselves for optimal performance. FTTx and GPON for example in the fixed category, and several TDD radio systems whether point to point or point to multipoint.

The questions that strike me here are:

What level of synchronisation is needed for these transport technologies?

Is this sufficient for your phase synchronisation needs?

Can this technology carry your own timing (PTP packets for example) without compromising performance?

Can you trust your network performance to a third party?

Is this sync available to you as the user anyway?

Start to get answers to some of these questions,or just ideas on what sort of questions you need to ask, at our free "Is Your Network Phase Ready?" Seminar at Kings Place on Wednesday May 8th.

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Join us at 'Phase Ready' in London on 8 May and win an iPad mini

Join us at 'Phase Ready' in London on 8 May and win an iPad mini

Join the sync experts from Chronos and Symmetricom and Industry Keynote Prof Simon Saunders and Operator Keynote Martin Kingston of Everything Everywhere at Chronos’ complimentary event in London 8 May 2013 to find out if your network is phase ready.

The migration from SDH to Carrier Ethernet continues; moving from the “certainties” of SDH timing to PTP and Synchronous Ethernet.  Now we see the next timing challenge on the horizon – PHASE synchronisation at the network edge.  And the key driver for this requirement is not that networks will be using Time Domain transport technologies like LTE-TDD, but the coming of LTE-A, Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets), Small Cells, Enhanced InterCell Interference Coordination (eICIC) and Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP).

There will be an opportunity to win two Apple iPad minis supplied by Chronos and Symmetricom.

Register here»

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Martin Kingston of EE to deliver Operator Keynote at Phase Ready

Chronos is pleased to announce that Martin Kingston, Principal Designer for Mobile Backhaul with EE,  will be delivering the Operator Keynote at Chronos’ Phase Ready event taking place in London on 8 May 2013 at Kings Place.

Martin is a Principal Designer for Mobile Backhaul at EE.  He has over 20 years’ experience in communications; amassing a broad knowledge of fixed, mobile and internet services combined with a deep understanding of transmission and transport technologies. He began working on terrestrial and satellite communication systems for outside broadcasts at the BBC before moving to Orange UK were he gained extensive experience of synchronisation in mobile networks and evolution to next generation transport network architectures in a converged mobile, home and business service provider.  Martin is currently working with a team of Senior Designers developing design strategy and solutions for packet transport networks to support the next generation of radio access technologies.

Over the next few years mobile networks will see an exponential increase in data traffic as a result of the introduction of 4G LTE technology.  Phase synchronisation at the network edge, particularly in urban hotspots, will be necessary sooner rather than later.  Chronos’ Phase Ready event will enable delegates to find out if their networks are  4G LTE-A phase ready and ensure that network rollouts today will still be relevant come the explosion of Small Cells, HetNets  and Coordinated Multipoint services (CoMP).


Join us at the Phase Ready event which is FREE at Kings Place in London on 8 May to listen/talk to Martin, Prof Simon Saunders who is delivering the Industry Keynote and sync experts from Chronos and Symmetricom and find out if your network is Phase Ready.

Register here

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Beyond G.811

So what's beyond G.811? G.811 has been around since the 1980s - it was there when frequency distribution was eventually sorted for PDH, and still there in the 1990s when SDH came along and turned things upside down for a short while. Even in the late 2000s when PTP and packet sync threatened to fox us all, G.811 kept calm, carried on, and frequency distribution over PTP was eventually done & dusted.

So what about the 2010s? Well, the latest challenge sort of ignores G.811; it's the relentless drive for bandwidth, fuelled by smartphones, dongles & tablets that's causing the wireless operators to scratch their (egg)heads and dream up ways to cram more capacity in & around the macro network. Current thinking is to fill in the cracks with lots of small cells, adding capacity & taking some of the strain away from the macro layer. The term "HetNets" (Hetrogenous Networks) has been coined to describe wireless access over a variety of types of access node. Macro, micro, pico & femto cells - the term "Small Cells" covers the 3 smallest types. But if only were that easy. Adding more radio transmitters into the already crowded spectrum means there's more management to be done, to minimise radio interference between the (now more) numerous cell types. The clever technologies already described by Steve Newcombe go some way to limit this, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The stringent phase synchronisation called for by these technologies is pushing sync delivery & the backhaul network to the limit in terms of what it can deliver. If efficient spectrum management calls for 100s of nS of phase sync right at the very edge of the network, this poses a interesting conundrum for networking equipment vendors to solve. Even with time & timing delivery using GPS, antenna delay calibration and system tolerances could take the error budget close to 100nS - sloppy installations are out, this is precision stuff!

Beefing up the network that supplies the sync is already underway. Initial discussions in the standards bodies have focussed on utilising already existing techniques in DSL & PON to get phase alignment carried across & out of the network nodes to the advantage of the small cell. Techniques like NTR in DSL and modem ranging in PON are already being silently used by the network to do its job, but these have never before been made available as phase-sync alignment tools to end applications… will they be standardised in time to help with small cells?

So G.811 might eventual have to step aside, and a new kid on the block might be revealed, the saviour of phase sync...


The "Is Your Network Phase Ready" seminar at Kings Place on May 8th has a session exploring what lies beyond G.811. We'll try to give an impartial view of the options currently available, and their possible impact on delivering microsecond phase. Places at the Seminar are FREE - sign up HERE today.



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Phase Ready - Why Now?

Why is it important to consider phase synchronisation at the network edge when, at least here in the UK, you're only just rolling out your LTE Macro layer?

A valid question, but you may well also be rolling out 3G Small Cells for indoor coverage in public spaces and enterprises,data offload, or Outdoor Event systems. Choices that make perfect technical and economic sense for these systems may well come back to haunt you if you don't take heed of the future (and not so far flung future) phase requirements your network will have.

Take backhaul technologies for example. You will of course find backhaul that's perfectly suited to your requirement now; perhaps getting SyncE right out to the Small Cells to give great frequency sync for the Air Interface. But is this backhaul phase ready? When you need to overlay this great frequency network with PTP packets to get microsecond sync to Small Cells, will this backhaul deliver the timing performance you need?

Decisions taken now for Small Cells need to take account of the requirement you WILL have for phase when you're delivering LTE-A services. Think smart and you won't need to rip out your two year old backhaul network because it wasn't future proof.

Our "Is Your Network Phase Ready" seminar at Kings Place on May 8th has a session "Small Cells Backhaul - the “Wild West” Explained". We'll try to give an impartial view of the options currently available, and their possible impact on delivering microsecond phase. Places at the Seminar are FREE - sign up HERE today.

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Prof Simon Saunders to deliver Industry Keynote at Phase Ready event

Prof Simon Saunders PhD CEng FIET,  an independent specialist in the technology of wireless communications, is delivering the Industry Keynote at Chronos' Phase Ready event taking place on 8 May at Kings Place, London. As founding chairman of the Small Cell Forum – a position held for over five years – Dr Saunders is one of the most respected voices in his field.

Join us in London on 8 May 2013 to listen to Prof Simon Saunders and the Chronos team of sync experts to ensure that your networks are Phase Ready!

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Its Not Just Small Cells!

A recent Light Reading piece - eMBMS Unleashes New Potential for MBB Business Growth - shows that it won't just be the deployment of Small Cells and LTE-A that drives the need for phase synchronisation at the network edge.

eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) is the LTE flavour of MBMS; described by 3GPP for many years but not as yet deployed in any network - until now! Plans from Verizon and others have been announced to roll eMBMS services out over the next year or so, primarily for streaming live video content and supplying video on demand.

As content becomes king, delivery platform is less and less a concern for users. If their Mobile Carrier gives them Cable TV like services - with Cable like performance of course - why have separate subscriptions? But beware the fickle user. The Light Reading piece also says "Studies have also shown that for every second a user has to wait before an online video begins playing, 5.8% of all users will leave before the video ever loads ."

eMBMS relies on the creation of a Single Frequency Network (SFN) to send data simultaneously to many users in a sector, or between sectors. This will require microsecond phase alignment of cells to deliver this content efficiently, and eMBMS is equally at home in LTE-FDD networks as it will be in LTE-TDD.

So if you think "my FDD network doesn't need phase" well think again!

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Why Phase Ready?

Many of us have been, and are still, involved in the migration from SDH to Carrier Ethernet in networks; moving from the “certainties” of SDH timing to PTP and Synchronous Ethernet. The crossing of the “Bellhead / Nethead” boundary has mostly got beyond “Ethernet doesn’t need sync” and, in a surprisingly short period of time, getting good frequency performance to the edge of networks over Carrier Ethernet is just about done.

Now we see the next timing challenge on the horizon – PHASE synchronisation at the network edge. And the key driver for this requirement is not that networks will be using Time Domain transport technologies like LTE-TDD, but the coming of LTE-A, Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets), Small Cells and Enhanced InterCell Interference Coordination (eICIC).
It’s a given now (or seems to be) that in next generation mobile networks the Macro layer will simply not have the coverage and spectrum to deliver data densities and rates customers now require. The latest Small Cells Market Data white paper from the Small Cells Forum looks at the scale of likely rollouts. For example “Mobile Experts published a new forecast claiming that 70 million small cells will be shipped by 2017, including Femtocells deployed by mobile operators and picocells used for high-capacity urban networks. LTE small cells are a major part of the forecast growth over the next five years, with more than two-thirds of small cells deployed in 2017 devoted to LTE-FDD or TD-LTE.”

A blog post from leading industry consultant Frank Rayal called “More and More Small Cells, But Where’s the Gain?” notes that “In the absence of advanced interference management solutions, most capacity benefit will be obtained from deploying small cells in a targeted way with intimate knowledge of the location of traffic hotspot and interference profile. In other words, forget about mass uniform deployments for now. Planning will remain essential.”

Effective eICIC requires stringent phase synchronisation between deployed Small Cells and the Macro cell(s) under which they operate. And effective eICIC will be the tool to enable “mass uniform deployments”. This requirement and the issues around it are why we’ve launched

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Phase Ready Seminar - 8 May 2013 - London

Phase Ready seminar

How are your networks shaping up for the explosion of HetNets and Small Cells? Come and talk to the Chronos experts in London on 8 May 2013. Register here

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