Tech News: 5G Synchronization

  • February 25, 2021

With 5G networks being implemented around the world, engineers are still facing some synchronization and timing issues.

Entering the 5G Era

The demand for faster networks from HD video streaming, online gaming, to GPS navigation, autonomous driving, and other applications means higher bandwidth continues to grow among consumers. Implementation of 5G networks is the solution for the customers’ demands. 

However, one of the issues with the implementation of 5G is more radio towers are required, and they may work against each other if not not being properly synchronized. Poor timing and synchronization within 5G networks may become the new source of customer churn.

The consequences may be anything from serious to catastrophic.  Calls may be dropped, videos may be interrupted, and vehicles depending on autonomous driving may pose critical if not fatal collisions if 5G towers are not properly synchronized.

How are 5G Networks being different?

Previously networks like 4G and 3G) only require frequency synchronization to keep signals aligned.  Nevertheless the 5G networks are more complex.

Not only will frequency synchronization continue to be a concern, but also phase and time requirements. Frequency synchronization alone will no longer be the primary solution to these new demands.

4 New 5G Bandwidth Issues

To tackle the stronger timing and sync requirements mobile operators could simply equip each mobile base station with a GNSS receiver, and then lock into multiple satellite signals to establish precise timing calculations.

Many carriers effectively use this solution today, however two issues still remain

1. Many base stations can't access to multiple satellite signals

Urban areas and cities require more base stations and antennas to maintain a favorable signal. However, tall buildings, trees, billboards, and other obstacles can easily block satellite signals, especially in more populated areas.

A possible solution could be to place a receiver on a rooftop above surrounding obstacles, which is not always practical.

2. Weak GNSS Signals

GNSS Signals are weak at the earth's surface and can easily be interfered with. Common causes of failure could be contributed to

  • atmospheric interference
  • multi-path from reflected signals
  • radiation from malfunctioning electronics
  • damages from severe weather

3. Bandwidth Aggregation

Occupying more bandwidth is one of the most critical issues for 5G. To achieve better bandwidth aggregation, a higher precision timing source is required as opposed to just GNSS. More on finding an appropriate 5G timing solution below.

4. Reducing 5G Cell Size

Engineers are still facing challenges on how to reduce

 5G cell size. Successfully reducing cell size will therefore reduce the cell population (and costs). 

The Solution?

Dynamic Engineers offers a wide range of OCXOs which offer:

  • Low Phase Noise
  • Great short term stability (ADEV)
  • Powerful holdover stability (longer term stability)
  • Innovative low power technology
  • Low profile
  • Exceeds long term stability of atomic clocks in many cases

Installing a high-quality holdover oscillator

DOCXO5050AN-10MHz at every base station could solve the 5G network issues as mentioned. 

For additional information on price and availability, please contact your local Dynamic Engineers sales representative or