The fiber optic-based time synchronisation solution for your data center

Written by 

Regina Bonni & Dominik Tibolla

Marketing Communication Manager, Product Manager/Business Development XoF

In almost every sector of communication, precise time synchronisation, accurate to the nanosecond, is essential in a data center. Global trade, the stock exchange, mobile communications, navigation or geodesy are just a few examples that require such timing precision. 

For this exact time system, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is used, which is based on various satellite constellations such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo or Beidou. Satellites continuously transmit on atomic clock based position and time signals. These are received by GNSS antennas and processed directly in the data center. As a result, the same reference time prevails in every corner of the earth, which is required for many different processes and applications. This technology is also required for mobile phone coverage at large event locations and for distributed antenna systems (DAS).

As data volumes and transmission speeds increase, the requirements for time synchronisation in data centers also increase. Challenges such as low latency, long signal distances, interference, cyberattacks or flying space debris can affect the accuracy, reliability and security of GNSS services. Therefore, the GNSS infrastructure should always be up to date with the latest technological hardware and software in order to be resilient, robust and adaptable.

Coaxial GNSS infrastructure versus fiber optics

Most GNSS systems still in use are based on infrastructures with coaxial cabling. However, this copper-based data connection comes with many disadvantages like: lack of scalability; maintenance if the signal quality deteriorates over a longer period of time; the need for a power supply close to the antenna and therefore the need for lightning protection. 

While previous antenna systems were sufficient for short transmission distances, fiber optics are revolutionizing this application as well, impressing with long ranges and minimal latency times between the RF source and the receiver system.  

 GNSS & Power over Fiber- The power supply comes via fiber optic

HUBER+SUHNER has developed a new GNSS system that guarantees data center operators reliable time data transmission and enables the active antenna to be powered without an additional power connection. The required energy is transmitted through the fiber optic cable and converted to supply the antenna. This avoids voltage spikes or fluctuations, minimizes the risk of spoofing and/or interference attacks and enables separate antenna positions to ensure additional security and redundancy for reliable signal transmission.

In addition to the simple installation and no separate power supply required, the existing fiber optic infrastructure of the building and the data center can be used. Another advantage of optical signal transmission is its durability, even in extreme weather conditions. The performance is not affected and no costly maintenance work is required.   

The system is particularly suitable for applications that place high demands on the security, reliability and performance of signal transmission, such as telecommunications providers, data centers and 5G network operators.

Secure processes in the business sector

With the GNSS & Power-over-Fiber solution from HUBER+SUHNER, industrial, commercial and manufacturing companies can optimize the time-based coordination and automation of business processes. This brings many advantages in terms of coordination, security and monitoring:

  • Analytics data is immediately available  
  • Warnings or failures are reported immediately and allow direct action to be taken 
  • Globally operating locations can be synchronised and interlinked action measures can be implemented simultaneously
  • All nodes in the database cluster are kept consistent to ensure the secure transfer of data between the data centers and from the cloud to the edge

Fields of application

Financial services


Time synchronisation is business-critical for the settlement, monitoring and regulation of financial transactions, such as stock trading, payment transactions or cryptocurrencies. Precise time stamping is necessary for monitoring and transparency to ensure security and traceability of financial activities and to avoid disputes or fraud.



In telecommunications, time synchronization is important for the transmission, processing and quality of voice, data and video signals in telecommunication networks, such as mobile telephony, internet or broadcasting. Precise time stamping is essential for the synchronisation, efficiency and performance of telecommunication devices and services to reduce interference or loss.

Industrial sector  

Precise time synchronisation for the control, automation and optimization of industrial processes, machines or systems, such as manufacturing, power generation or transport. Time stamping improves coordination, increases the accuracy and reliability of industrial devices and systems and helps to avoid errors or accidents.

The new GNSS & Power-over-Fiber solution from HUBER+SUHNER meets the demand for high time precision, fast data provision and high-end fiber optic technology and ensures reliability and durability.

Would you like to know more?

Check out the Timing Synchronisation solution page

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