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Locata’s Time Synchronization Capability

Superb performance demonstrated in world-first paper on Locata’s time synchronization. 

Presented to US Institute of Navigation’s Precise Time & Time Interval (PTTI) Conference in Seattle by the University of New South Wales
December 2-5, 2013

The Problem

Over the last 20 years the GPS timing signal has literally become a digital heartbeat for the world. Many critical systems (mobile phone networks, the internet, financial services networks, electricity grids, etc.) must have high-accuracy time and frequency stability available to their networks so they can function correctly.

Governments and responsible corporations worldwide recognize they now have a critical dependency on time distribution. Hence they have begun to demand a “backup to GPS” capability, ensuring they reduce risk of national catastrophic failures if GPS signals are compromised or jammed. The industry clearly understands the problem, stating that “the vulnerability of GPS signals is of growing concern”.

Unfortunately, alternatives for local backup through timing systems like fibre optics are complex, depend heavily on building out infrastructure, and are inherently more costly and difficult to deploy than a wireless system. The pressing need for an elegant wireless time synchronisation solution has now become crystal clear.

Locata has, therefore, begun to attract a great deal of global attention as a completely new wireless synchronization technology, delivering timing solutions which were previously unattainable.

The Demonstration

In November 2013, a team of researchers led by Professor Chris Rizos from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, decided to set up a demonstration which would allow them to report on the real world, long-range time transfer capabilities of a Locata network.

As a performance comparison benchmark the researchers used today’s most demanding IEEE synchronization standard (IEEE 1588), which is currently being developed for next-generation 4G mobile phone networks. The IEEE performance requirements are:

Synchronization: ±1.5 to ±5 microseconds
Frequency stability: 16 – 50 parts per billion

These levels of precision are relatively difficult to achieve. They represent the cutting edge of real world performance for non-GPS timing technology, and they require the deployment of specialist, dedicated infrastructure.

The research team set up two systems intended to independently benchmark – for the first time – Locata’s long range time transfer capabilities.

Two Timing Tests

The two dissimilar Locata configurations were designed to demonstrate two very distinct Locata synchronization qualities:

  • A Locata network “locked to GPS time” and hence the transfer of that external time base around a network; and
  • Locata’s internal synchronization (that is, Locata’s own inherent network time transfer capability, totally independent of GPS time).

Superb Results

(a)    Locata locked to external GPS time, across a 73 km (45 mile) distance

Synchronization: ±2.5 nanoseconds
Frequency stability: 1 part per billion

(b)    Locata internal relative time transfer, across a 56 km (35 mile) distance:

Synchronization: ±2.5 nanoseconds
Frequency stability: 0.07 parts per billion

These independently derived test results are outstanding, and clearly exceed the requirements of even the most stringent next-generation IEEE 1588 synchronization specifications for mobile phone systems.


Timing and synchronization provides a heartbeat for the entire digital world. It’s now an essential requirement for the functionality of mobile phone networks, the Internet, the stock market, banking, transport, and much more.

Locata has now begun to demonstrate how it has single-handedly invented new technology directly applicable to these modern applications. Locata’s TimeLoc technology has the capability to revolutionize synchronization capabilities for many of these critical systems. As our partners begin to develop and roll out new devices based on Locata inventions, we will forever change what is possible with positioning and timing technologies.

Download the UNSW PTTI Conference Locata Synchronization Paper using the link below…