Search Products
GPS Timing and Designing for Real-Life Networks

GPS Timing and Designing for Real-Life Networks

Anyone who’s known me for a while may be used to my mantra, but it is worth repeating: “Everything works when it works.” It’s an important mantra to keep in mind as it’s our job to keep systems working under failure conditions for as long as it takes for us to mobilise to fix the problem!

Timing Degradation

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s take GPS timing as a prime example. A timing receiver locked to GNSS signals for 24 hours or so will usually give an excellent output fit for purpose, but what happens if someone cuts through your GNSS cable while maintaining another system? The instant this happens the timing performance of your system will start to degrade, usually in line within the physical properties of your holdover technology (e.g., crystal oscillator, oven crystal, Rubidium Atomic Clock, etc). With good design, the locked performance of your clock will be much better than the performance your application requires, but that performance will be moving towards that lower level at a rate determined by this holdover clock.

Optimum Network Holdover

It’s fair to say that the higher holdover performance comes at a higher cost, and devices at the edge of networks tend to be under more cost pressure. As engineers, it’s our job to balance these costs with performance to keep your networks performing, even when problems arise. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to give yourself at least three days to troubleshoot and mobilise to fix whatever problem you have. A four-hour fix means permanent staff at key locations (this may be appropriate in many systems but unfortunately not timing) or parked at motorway junctions like ambulances often are. In summary: ‘just in case’ is not a cost effective and efficient field force solution!

Summary

So, whether it’s GPS timing or any other potential issue facing your network, it’s important to design and maintain a network that factors in these potential problems while considering the time and resources it’ll take to effectively correct them.

 

Please visit the Chronos Times area of our website to read the latest Insights and Bitesize articles, learn about our attendance at recent Events and much more.

Timing Services

Click below to discover more about Chronos Technology's market-leading timing knowhow
Find out more

More in this category

Bitesize
Underground Metro Mapping

Underground Mapping with Tunnel GNSS

The subject of Underground Mapping would be looking at systems to accurately trace and map underground pipelines, ducts and…

Read more
Bitesize
Safety for Underground Personnel

Safety for Underground Personnel: Using Tunnel GPS in an Emergency

Location and navigation are vital elements to ensure safety standards are maintained in an underground workplace. Or as safe…

Read more
Bitesize
Indoor navigation

Indoor Navigation: Taking GPS Signals Inside

Here at Chronos, we have considerable experience of taking GPS signals indoors. That includes within military and civil aviation…

Read more

Our Company

You can call on us for deep knowledge and expertise on Global Navigation Satellite Solutions (GNSS), Precision Time Protocol…

Find out more

Expertise you can rely on

Our Team will ensure that you get the latest technologies, the finest products and the best service Our Team…

Find out more