Swiss-based u‑blox has unveiled the LEA-M8F precision timing GNSS module. The compact, surface-mount module generates a precise 30.72 MHz reference clock crucial for synchronizing industrial data and communication systems such as small, femto and macro-cell mobile networks. High accuracy is achieved by disciplining a local oscillator or other clock source with timing signals received from satellite-hosted atomic clocks.
To ensure satellite availability, LEA-M8F is able to acquire and track all 50+ GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellites. High sensitivity enables quick autonomous start-up even inside structures with limited sky-view.
“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 (CIKR),” said Thomas Nigg, vice president of product marketing at u-blox. “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.”
Measuring 17 x 22 mm, the LEA-M8F module includes a low-noise 30.72 MHz VCTCXO (voltage and temperature controlled oscillator), meeting the master reference requirements for LTE Small Cells while providing 100 parts-per-billion autonomous hold-over accuracy. The module is also suitable for TD-LTE, LTE-Advanced and other applications requiring extended hold-over times when integrated with small cell platforms.
External sources of synchronization are supported through time-pulse and frequency inputs and a message interface. This allows measurements from macro-sniff, Sync-E or packet timing to be combined with measurements from GNSS to extend the availability of accurate synchronization and in doing so maximize cellular service availability.
LEA-M8F can track signals from satellites from any two constellations simultaneously (e.g. GPS and GLONASS, GPS and BeiDou, GLONASS and BeiDou). Compatibility with multiple GNSS systems gives the LEA-M8F access to a large number of satellites, allowing synchronization even in urban or indoor areas with limited sky view. For stationary applications, once a location is known, accurate timing can be maintained based on the signal from just a single satellite.
For more information, download the u-blox whitepaper “GNSS Timing and the Rise of Small Cells”. Detailed information about the LEA-M8F and evaluation kit EVK-M8F can be found on the u-blox website. Samples of the LEA-M8F will be available in Q1 2014.
Also, the LEA-M8F will be demonstrated at the Small Cells Americas exhibition in Dallas, Dec. 3-4, at u-blox stand number 3.