Revolutionising precision timing with Direct GPS-over-Fiber

Written by 

Dominik Tibolla

Product Manager/Business Development XoF

With capacity demands worldwide growing, tighter coordination within data centers, enterprise applications and small cell sites is crucial. This requires very low latency, precision timing and synchronisation, which are essential for successful operations. However, it can be challenging for telecom operators to install the multiple antennas often required for this timing due to the complexity and effort needed.

From 5G increasing the amount of radios, to a rise in enterprise and data center demand, timing infrastructure that is flexible, scalable, and easy to install is vital. As a result, HUBER+SUHNER has developed a game-changing Direct GPS-over-Fiber solution which addresses the current challenges of today and beyond.

Deployment challenges
The traditional GPS infrastructure, which has often been utilised to provide timing, consists of an active GPS antenna connected by coaxial cable to the receiver system. This set-up has proved problematic for enterprises and telecom operators when they want to scale up their infrastructure to meet increasing demand. With a maximum of eight Baseband Units (BBUs) per antenna and a lack of distance due to the cabling, it can prove tricky to factor in additional equipment. Links between the antenna and receiver system are limited at 200 feet in a traditional coaxial connection, whereas direct GPS-over-Fiber allows a length of 7 kilometres which can be stretched to 20 kilometres or more with GPS-over-Fiber.

There also needs to be access to a readily available power supply and the antennas must be protected against lightning to safeguard them against rooftop conditions. Space is another deployment challenge which must be overcome. With so many antennas already in place, it can be difficult to find space to deploy more.

A game-changing technology
The new Direct GPS-over-Fiber solution from HUBER+SUHNER has been created to overcome the common deployment challenges and is the first of its kind. It is fast and easy to install, with flexible, space-saving configurations and eliminates the need for power infrastructure at the remote end. This product makes network expansion highly achievable and delivers a great business case for enterprises, telecom providers and data center operators.

With a compact design and integrated transmitters, the need for multiple GPS antennas is removed to help maximise the available space and increase scalability. The solution also goes one step further when it comes to affordability and flexibility, with an expanded reach made possible due to the GPS-over-Fiber technology providing unlimited distribution flexibility. It also further extends the signal range between the antenna and receiver.

A lack of a power source is no longer an issue with the solution’s unique copper-free GPS link. This utilises Power-over-Fiber technology to distribute both signal for timing, and power for the remote device. The Direct GPS-over-Fiber product also improves efficiency with automatic reboot functionality and is easily to install with plug-and-play components. This allows customers to direct their valuable time and resources elsewhere.

Additional benefits
Not only does this high-quality innovation from HUBER-SUHNER provide structure to telecom and data center operators, as well as enterprises, but it also boosts performance with its space-saving design helping to dramatically reduce the amount of equipment needed. Direct GPS-over-Fiber also enhances services that help to free up resources, which can then be invested elsewhere. Lastly, it allows customers to go beyond its current potential by ensuring a low total cost of ownership and optimising overall lifecycle costs. By reducing the amount of antennas required and negating the need for costly remote antenna power infrastructure, more money is saved.