First Single-Chip Network Synchronization Solution Provides Precise Timing for 5G Radio Access Equipment

By Taryn Engmark

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

July 30, 2021


First Single-Chip Network Synchronization Solution Provides Precise Timing for 5G Radio Access Equipment

The system combines integration and performance in one compact, low-power device supported by Microchip’s widely deployed IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and synchronization algorithm software modules.

5G technology requires time sources to be synchronized throughout a packet-switched network ten times more accurately than 4G requirements.

Rami Kanama, vice president of Microchip’s timing and communications business unit, said the ZL3073x/63x/64x network synchronization platform's architecture and, "low-jitter synthesizers help simplify the design of timing cards, line cards, Radio Units (RU), Centralized Units (CUs) and Distributed Units (DUs) for 5G Radio Access Networks (RAN).”

Microchip’s measure, calibrate and tune capabilities ensure 5G systems achieve International Telecommunication Union – Telecommunication (ITU-T) Standard G.8273.2 Class C (30ns max|TE|) and the emerging Class D (5ns max|TEL|) time error requirements. The architecture provides flexibility, offering up to five independent Digital Phase Locked Loop (DPLL) channels while consuming only 0.9W of power in a compact 9 x 9-millimeter package that simultaneously reduces board space, power and system complexity. 

With five ultra-low-jitter synthesizers, this platform offers 100 femtosecond (fs) root mean square (rms) jitter performance required by high-speed interfaces in the latest 5G RU, DU and CU systems.

Microchip’s network synchronization platform software includes its ZLS30730 high-performance algorithm coupled with its ZLS30390 IEEE 1588-2008 protocol engine. Both are widely deployed in 3G, 4G and 5G networks with precise timing capabilities. 

Microchip’s platform combines with the company’s family of 5G oscillators – for example, the OX-601 Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO) – to offer 5G network operators a total system solution. 

The company’s extensive portfolio of timing and clock solutions, including clock generation, fanout buffer, jitter attenuator solutions, and quartz and MEMS oscillators, is complemented by a broad family of Ethernet physical layer (PHY) devices.