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RAD Introduces Distributed Grandmaster Solution to Reduce the Cost and Complexity of LTE Backhaul

Unique Integration of Grandmaster Functionality with Service Assured Demarcation Capabilities
Jun 19, 2013

Recognizing that the delivery of accurate timing to small cell base stations is one of the major challenges facing LTE operators, RAD has enhanced its Service Assured Access solution for mobile backhaul networks by introducing Distributed GM™, a unique distributed Grandmaster functionality that significantly reduces the cost and complexity of LTE and LTE Advanced backhaul.

Distributed GM will be officially launched at LTE World Summit 2013 in Amsterdam.

“Distributed GM simplifies the entire architecture of synchronization in LTE backhaul networks because it provides an alternative to the two existing solutions, both of which are problematic,” states Ilan Tevet, Service Provider Line of Business head at RAD.

One existing approach is to co-locate a GPS receiver at each base station. But this will not be economical for LTE networks, which will see an exponential growth in the number of cell sites, including small cells, each covering a relatively small slice of the area covered by a single 2G/3G base station. Moreover, LTE base stations are much smaller than their 2G/3G counterparts, and in many cases they will be unable to host a GPS receiver, either because there is no room or because there is no clear sky view to a satellite, or both. Beyond that is the simple matter of economics: Purchasing, installing and maintaining a GPS receiver at every LTE base station will quickly become prohibitively expensive.

The second option available to operators is to deploy a Grandmaster clock with IEEE 1588 functionality at a central site to transmit timing across the entire backhaul network to all remote base stations. This solution, however, requires an upgrade of a high number of intermediate network elements to facilitate IEEE 1588 message propagation (via capabilities such as Boundary or Transparent clocks) in order to minimize end-to-end Packet Delay Variation (PDV, or jitter) and guarantee the high quality of synchronization required by LTE base stations.

Will Not Overcrowd Base Stations and Needs No Network Upgrade
“Distributed GM is an elegant solution for LTE because it is incorporated into RAD’s ETX-2 Advanced Carrier Ethernet device, which supports 1588 Grandmaster and is also equipped with a built-in GPS receiver,” Tevet explains. “Since the ETX-2 is designed to be deployed at the first aggregation point, closest to the cell-site or a cluster of small cells, it will not overcrowd base stations, and since it will typically be situated much closer to base stations than a Grandmaster clock would be, it can provide an accurate reference clock for the base stations with no network upgrade.”

Reduces CapEx and OpEx and Speeds up ROI
“RAD is the only vendor that combines service aggregation and synchronization in a single LTE backhaul device,” Tevet adds. “The small form-factor ETX-2 eliminates the need for two separate boxes that otherwise would be needed to provide the same dual functions, reducing both CapEx and OpEx and speeding up ROI in the process,” he concludes. “Operators will find that Distributed GM provides an ideal Service Assured Access solution for the challenges presented by LTE backhaul.”

Addresses Technical Requirements and Deployment Costs
“Although small cell architectures have been the main topic of discussion, the issues related to delivering precision timing and synchronization to large numbers of small cells have not been well understood,” notes Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst at Current Analysis. “RAD’s distributed Grandmaster solution addresses both the technical requirements and the cost to deploy.”

RAD customers include operators and service providers such as Bharti Airtel, British Telecom, CenturyLink, China Mobile, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile, Embratel, France Telecom/Orange, Hutchison, KDDI, KPN, SingTel, SoftBank, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, TeliaSonera, Telstra, Telus, Verizon, and Vodafone.

Organized by Informa Telecoms & Media, LTE World Summit 2013 runs from June 24-26.

About RAD

RAD is a global telecom access solutions and products vendor, enabling service providers and network operators to evolve any service over any network using disaggregated architecture (DA). By allowing mobile, business and wholesale service providers to decouple service evolution from network evolution, we assist them in migrating at a pace that is right for them. They can leverage existing resources and prolong the use of a large variety of their current legacy interfaces and equipment, as well as maintain network and service performance to guarantee user experience.  In addition to providing an economical migration path to network edge virtualization, our Service Assured Access solutions are designed to deliver complete visibility for greater operational efficiency, as well as timing synchronization for LTE/LTE-A and future 5G deployments.

Founded in 1981, RAD has an installed base of more than 16 million units, and works closely with Tier 1 operators and service providers around the globe. RAD is a member of the $1.46 billion RAD Group of companies, a world leader in communications solutions.

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