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Precision Timing and Reference Frequency

In addition to positioning and navigation applications, GPS/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 onboard positioning satellites, GPS/GNSS signals which contain embedded timing information can be used to synchronise equipment to within 15 ns, as well as provide UTC time to an accuracy within 90 ns. For wireless communication standards that utilize Time Division Multiplex (TDM) and for CDMA2000 in applications such as femtocell basestations, a precision time reference is mandatory. For these and other systems, GPS/GNSS signals are utilized to  provide an accurate reference frequency to within 1 part in 100 billion (1011). 

u‑blox’s range of precision timing chips and modules are able to fulfill this important reference function 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 GPS/GNSS signals are available, as well as precise disciplined frequency references with hold‑over.

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 multi‑path mitigation allowing a small, low cost GPS antenna to be used indoors or within machinery
  • Flexible GPS‑synchronised time‑pulse outputs at user‑defined frequencies aligned to GPS time or UTC
  • Very low cost

Frequency‑Time modules and reference designs add:
Disciplined internal or external master reference oscillators with automatic hold‑over
Time‑pulse inputs and message‑based APIs for integration with host‑based sources of synchronization

For more information, download the u‑blox whitepaper "​GNSS timing and the rise of small cells".

Samples of u‑blox precision timing modules and evaluation kit can be ordered via the u‑blox Online Shop.