The Future of 5G synchronization: How GPS-independent solutions drive 5G rollout

This article was first published in RCR Wireless

5G drives higher speed, lower latency, and greater capacity than 4G LTE networks, making it critical across industries globally. We have just started scratching the surface of the type of new use cases that become possible through 5G’s innovation potential. While the rollout of 5G is accelerating, we’re still witnessing different geographies and telecom operators deploying 5G networks at a different pace — especially as meeting its requirements is costly and complicated. 5G should be an innovation driver and not another source of digital divide among regions and markets.

The 5G infrastructure market is growing rapidly with a CAGR of 60% and is estimated to reach a total market size of about $50 billion by 2027. 5G networks are evolving to enable new mission-critical applications, including AI and robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), autonomous vehicles, and a multitude of connected devices and sensors. 5G deployment comes with stringent requirements, especially around time synchronization. Any failure to deliver precise and accurate time synchronization leads 5G services to systemic failure. A faulty synchronized base station can cause significant disruption as it interferes with the 5G operations of other operators and creates broader problems across networks.

It’s critical for telecoms operators globally to deliver accurate and secure 5G synchronization across their networks. So far, this requires significant investment which raises 5G rollout costs dramatically. According to a report by Kearney (April 2020), the synchronization cost is estimated between 3-5% of the total 5G network rollout cost, i.e., $1.5-2.5 billion in 2027 and can in many cases require a large forklift upgrade of old infrastructure to enable PTP network synchronization. As not all telecom operators are able to sustain these costs, this can put some markets and industry players at a significant competitive disadvantage.

To level the playing field and ensure all operators can be part of the 5G revolution, they need to leverage technology solutions that can help them upgrade their network infrastructure to meet synchronization requirements quickly, securely, and cost-efficiently.

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