Precision timing GNSS module for cellular networks

3rd December 2013
Nat Bowers

The LEA-M8F is a new precision timing GNSS module which has been introduced by u-blox. Generating a precise 30.72 MHz reference clock, the compact and surface mount GNSS module is ideal for synchronizing industrial data and communication systems such as small, femto and macro-cell mobile networks.

Supplied in a 17 mm x 22 mm package, the LEA-M8F module provides high accuracy by disciplining a local oscillator or other clock source with timing signals received from satellite-hosted atomic clocks. High sensitivity enables quick autonomous start-up even inside structures with limited sky-view, while it can acquire and track all 50+ GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellites to ensure satellite availability.

Thomas Nigg, Vice President of Product Marketing at u-blox, commented: “A reliable, compact and cost-effective precision reference clock is a crucial component used in many systems in the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource sectors. Our LEA-M8F GPS/GNSS satellite-disciplined timing module enables the proper operation of many mission-critical infrastructure systems including mobile and fixed-line communication networks, power generation and distribution systems, gas and chemical processing plants, banking, postal and goods distribution processes.”

Offering 100 parts-per-billion autonomous hold-over accuracy, the LEA-M8F module includes a low-noise 30.72 MHz VCTCXO, which meets the master reference requirements for LTE Small Cells. The module is also suitable for TD-LTE, LTE-Advanced and other applications requiring extended hold-over times when integrated with small cell platforms.

Supporting external sources of synchronization through time-pulse and frequency inputs and a message interface, the LEA-M8F allows measurements from macro-sniff, Sync-E or packet timing to be combined with measurements from GNSS. This extends the availability of accurate synchronisation and maximises cellular service availability.

Capable of tracking signals from any two constellations simultaneously (e.g. GPS and GLONASS, GPS and BeiDou, GLONASS and BeiDou), the LEA-M8F has access to a large number of satellites, allowing synchronization even in urban or indoor areas with limited sky view. For stationary applications, accurate timing can be maintained based on the signal from just a single satellite, once a location is known.

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