7 things we learned at WSTS 2021

5 mins read

Last week was the 30th anniversary event of the Workshop on Synchronization and Timing Systems, and as always it delivered a very comprehensive agenda covering the latest developments in the field. There was of course, lots of technical information to unpack – including Calnex’s own presentation on the Timing implications of Open RAN. Look out for a future blog on that one.

Now that the dust has settled, to help provide some guidance to anyone wondering where to start in their technical reading below are 7 high-level takeaways from both the presentations and chat around the event, as submitted by Calnex event attendees:

    1. Whether due to the more diverse range of geographies represented due to the virtual format or not, there was certainly a stronger spread than ever before in terms of the applications represented with a need for precise and resilient timing.

In fact, resilience and security were some of the hottest topics:

    1. 1588-2019 offers some genuine options to be secure and preserve timing precision for PTP. However, a case has been made for stricter security measures even if they affect timing – better that than the whole network being compromised…?

    2. The topic of GNSS spoofing isn’t going away! A few years ago you might suggest that those with vested interest had overstated the risks, but the real-world examples are now so numerous citing frequency of occurrence, impact and ease with which a malicious party can conduct a spoofing attack that the risk can’t be ignored. There are a lot of potential solutions out there too, from network timing backup, to parallel wireless technologies and/or enhanced monitoring techniques.

In terms of timing precision, 5G is typically the keystone application for the highest levels of network synchronization – e.g. 260ns within a cluster of Radios – but other applications are closing in:

  1. There was mention of requirements in some datacentres for network synchronization of less than 600ns.

  2. Time Sensitive Networking applications are also becoming more prominent – some megafactories may need per hop accuracy of 10ns!

  3. On the telecoms side, interesting to learn the potential advantages that Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) may have over traditional fibre networks for mobile backhaul.

  4. Internally speaking, lots of our engineering team also commented how great it was to see our Synchronization test products and results name checked in so many of the presentations. Thanks to all of the event presenters who referenced Calnex, we’re glad our solutions are proving useful!

We’re always available to assist our customers in generating new and interesting tests and insights. If you have an idea for Timing and Synchronization test and want to know if we can help, why not ask here.

Related products: Paragon-neo, Sentinel and Calnex SNE