The Zyntai network time synchronizer from Net Insight picks up where precision-time servers leave off.
Without timing and synchronization, networks would simply not run; data would never arrive at its destination. That’s where network timing products come in. At MWC 2023, Swedish network equipment vendor Net Insight will demonstrate Zyntai, its latest network synchronizer. EE World spoke with Net Insight’s Per Lindgren about how Zyntai provides timing across networks.
IEEE 1588, also known as Precision Time Protocol (PTP) distributes timing packets among network nodes. Unfortunately, not every network line card may support PTP. That’s where a network synchronizer comes in. According to Lindgren, Net Insight’s synchronizers connect to networks and provide overall timing across an entire network, creating a sync overlay on top of PTP. “We look at network endpoints and set up VPN tunnels across entire telecom networks,” Lindgren told EE World. “PTP requires support at every node. We fill in the gaps by providing full-timing support. We send more timing packets that does PTP, typically 128 packets/sec.”
Like Net Insight’s other synchronizers, the Zyntai product sits close to the radio access network (RAN) or closer to the network core depending on what’s needed to keep packets in sync. An integrated RAN, or baseband unit (BBU) includes PTP while disaggregated Open RAN configurations may not. That disaggregation pushes the network synchronizer closer to the radio unit (RU).
Networks often rely on GPS/GNSS clocks for timing. Unfortunately, those signals can be jammed or spoofed. Net Insight’s synchronizers can function as grandmaster clocks that don’t rely on timing signals from satellites. Lindgren cited an example from Türk Telecom where networks in cities close to unfriendly neighboring countries can experience problems receiving satellite timing signals resulting from jamming.