Symmetricom unveils timing and sync options for small cells

Symmetricom is bringing its timing and synchronization solutions to the small cell market with the introduction of its SCr (residential) and SCe (enterprise) SoftClocks. The software-based SoftClocks support multiple timing protocols, including IEEE 1588 (PTP), network time protocol (NTP) and softGPS.

Proper synchronization of small cells with the macro cells is necessary for enabling services such as voice call handoff, video reception and location-based services. In the LTE realm in particular, if small cell syncing does not comply with parameters specified by 3GPP, the negative consequences can include call interference, dropped calls, packet loss/collisions, spectral inefficiency, video broadcast interruption and poor signal quality at the cell edge, said Manish Gupta, vice president of marketing and business development for Symmetricom.

"Customer churn and revenue impact would be the impact to the operator. So sync architecture and appropriate deployment is fundamental to delivering services and recognizing revenue for the operator," Gupta said.

According to 3GPP performance specs, metrocells with fiber or microwave backhaul typically require PTP or GPS sync to deliver 50 parts per billion (ppb) performance, while enterprise small cells with Ethernet over copper (EoC) or fiber backhaul also demand PTP or GPS sync but only need 100 ppb performance. Residential small cells with DSL or cable backhaul require NTP or PTP sync with 250 ppb performance, Gupta said.

The new small cell SoftClocks complement Symmetricom's existing SoftClock offering, which provides multi-sync capabilities to support IEEE-1588, SyncE, GNSS and T1/E1 for networking infrastructure including, metro small cells, macro base stations, routers, switches and microwave backhaul. Symmetricom said its portfolio of SoftClock enable small cell designers to execute a single base design with options to integrate one or more synchronization protocols for deployment in varied network topologies.

Symmetricom's SCr and SCe Small Cell SoftClock solutions have been integrated with processors, system software, and oscillators from vendors such as Broadcom, Mindspeed, Qualcomm Atheros, Node-H and Rakon. "This integration enables network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) to complete their small cell system designs with lower risk and faster time to market," Symmetricom said.

Arcadyan, a Taiwan-based supplier of communications equipment, is the first ODM to select Symmetricom's timing solution for a small cell offering.

For more:
- see this Symmetricom release
- see this RCR Wireless article

Related articles:
Rumor mill: AT&T gears up to order 100,000 small cells
Wireless the likely winner in small cell backhaul
Small cells, DAS and Wi-Fi aren't universally loved
Freescale adds metrocell SoC for LTE, HSPA+

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