Time for Telecoms

Brought to you by The Wireless Heritage Group

This wireless heritage event looks at the history of time in telecommunication networks.

About the event

Accurate timing is needed in all telecommunication networks both in and between the core network and radio access layer and is critical to the management of end to end delay and delay variability and cell to cell and network to network interference.

The telecommunications industry has become progressively more dependent on accurate time, frequency and phase references with ETSI producing synchronisation standards specifying increasingly stringent requirements for jitter and wander at synchronisation interfaces, for clock accuracy and stability and synchronisation network architecture.

These distributed timing architectures are supplemented by GPS and GNSS based time references but GPS receivers are vulnerable to hardware failure, software errors, deliberate and accidental jamming and signal blocking in indoor and urban canyon applications. On January 26th 2016, software uploaded to the GPS constellation caused a 13 microsecond error in the GPS universal timing message highlighting the vulnerability of telecommunication networks to timing errors. 

Legacy cellular networks such as GSM have relatively straight forward timing and synchronization requirements with frequency synchronization provided via asynchronous Ethernet backhaul using the IEEE 1588 Precision timing protocol and or synchronous Ethernet (Sync E). This meets the frequency synchronization requirements of GSM, HSPA and LTE FDD but cannot be used as a phase or time reference.  The time and phase reference of LTE TDD and LTE Advanced has to be traceable back to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This is defined by the ITU standard ITU-T G.8272 and needs to compensate for variable delay introduced by router hardware and routing flexibility.

In 4G mobile broadband, localised and large scale time coordination is made more complex by the need to manage interference through mechanisms such as Intercell Interference Coordination (ICIC) and to manage link budgets through mechanisms such as Coordinated MultiPoint (CoMP) transmission. TDD requires additional time and phase coordination.

For 5G, safety critical applications in automotive intelligent transport systems, energy grid applications, e-health applications and factory of the future requirements specify end to end latency of less than 5 milliseconds and  packet loss thresholds equal to or lower than 10-5.

This will require a new generation of big atomic clocks. In parallel, miniature super accurate quantum clocks will help reduce the vulnerabilities associated with GPS based timing systems and improve the management of delay and delay variability and cell to cell and network to network interference in the radio access network. Other options for improving resilience include the repurposing of legacy positioning, location and timing systems, for example the updating of the Loran system (e-loran.) 

In this heritage event we review how clock technology has evolved and how lessons learnt over many centuries of clock making have provided the basis for timing in modern day telecommunication networks.

The session will start with a visit to the Clockmakers Museum and the Wells Cathedral Clock  - the world’ second oldest working clock. Delegates will then listen to three presentations in the Dana Centre Conference room followed by drinks, a short film on the speaking clock and the session will conclude with a networking drinks session.

About the Clockmakers Gallery

The Clockmakers Gallery includes more than 1000 watches, 80 clocks, 25 marine chronometers and a number of fine sundials and examples of hand engraving, mapping the history of innovation in watch and clock making in London from 1600 to the present day.

Assembled by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and once located in the Guildhall, this remarkable array of timepieces traces the story of the capital’s clockmakers—from their first marine chronometers and mechanical clocks through the evolution of the wristwatch.

John Harrison was the inventor of the marine chronometer. Among the collection’s highlights are the fifth chronometer he made, which he completed in 1770, and a four-month duration longcase clock by the father of English watchmaking, Thomas Tompion.

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWHeritage.

Agenda

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.

15:50

Event start

Meet in the 2nd floor cafe next to the Clock Museum

16:00

Self-guided tour of the clocks

17:00

The Wells Cathedral Clock strikes 5.00pm

Ticking since 1393, Richard Second marks the minutes and chimes the hour

17:01

Seminar

Relocate to the Dana Research Centre and Library for drinks and informal talks by:

17:05

Professor Robertson’s Clock - John Haine

David Robertson, the first professor of electrical engineering at Bristol University, designed a novel clock that kept University time and controlled the bell, Great George, from 1925 to the mid-60s. The clock was intended to be the world's first phase locked loop being synchronised to a daily time pulse from Greenwich distributed by telegraph line. John Haine describes the clock and how the synchronization worked from a modern viewpoint; and its current restoration.

17:35

Time for the Hajj - Stephen Haseldine

Just like the Wells Cathedral Clock calling the faithful to prayer, accurate time keeping is an essential part of the Hajj. Stephen Haseldine talks about the largest LAN) wall clocks in the world.

18:00

GPS as a time source and the need for alternatives? - Tony Flavin

Tony will be presenting on GPS as a time source and other alternatives.

18:30

The history of synchronisation in digital cellular networks – Andy Sutton

As data rates have increased it has become necessary to improve the timing and synchronisation and stability of cellular networks. This presentation reviews the history of timing and synchronisation in second, third and fourth generation cellular radio and the present and future timing requirements for fixed and mobile networks.

19:00

Networking over refreshments

Where there will be a short film about the Post Office Mk II Speaking Clock.

A Dollis Hill development of the Mk I used in Britain from 1936 until 1963, still using photocells and optical discs but intended to be controlled by quartz clock for greater accuracy. The production Mk IIs were installed in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia in 1954. The prototype remained in the UK and came to the Science Museum in 1957.

20:00

Session closes

Speakers

Tony Flavin

Tony joined the Post Office Research department (later to become BT) as an apprentice in 1974 and started his career in electronic and semiconductor design for early digital transmission systems. Later he helped develop the first optical fibre networks, before specialising in SDH and network synchronisation. He represented BT’s interests globally at ETSI and ITU for SDH and OTN/DWDM transport systems and gained experience across network design, procure, test, development and rollout. In the later years with BT he was responsible for BT’s Timing platforms supporting frequency time and phase across all of its platform domains. At Chronos, Tony is responsible for strategic research, technical support within the research projects and helping new products to emerge into the marketplace.

John Haine - Visiting Professor, University of Bristol (Communication Systems & Networks Research Group)

John Haine has spent his career in the electronics and communications industry, working for large corporations and with four Cambridge start-ups. His technical background includes R&D in radio circuitry and microwave circuit theory; and the design of novel radio systems for cordless telephony, mobile data, fixed wireless access and IoT communications. He has led standardisation activities in mobile data and FWA in ETSI, and contributed to WiMax in IEEE. At various times he has been involved in and led fund-raising and M&A activities. In 1999 he joined TTP Communications working on research, technology strategy and M&A; and after the company’s acquisition by Motorola became Director of Technology Strategy in Motorola Mobile Devices. After leaving Motorola he was CTO Enterprise Systems with ip.access, a manufacturer of GSM picocells and 3G femtocells. In early 2010 he joined Cognovo, which was acquired by u-blox AG in 2012. He led u-blox' involvement in 3GPP NB-IoT standardisation and the company's initial development of the first modules for trials and demonstrations. Now retired from u-blox he is a Visiting Professor in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Bristol University, where he chairs the Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications. He was founder chair and is Board Member Emeritus of the IoT Security Foundation. John has a first degree from Birmingham (1971) and a PhD from Leeds (1977) universities, and is a Life Member of the IEEE.

Stephen Haseldine - Chairman, Deaf Alerter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain

Steve Haseldine FIMC FRSA is the Chairman of three companies, Alerter Group plc, Electronic Communications Ltd and Evets Communications Ltd, businesses that design and manufacture in-building, radio-based, emergency communication systems; software defined radio solutions and operate PMR, FM Broadcast and Cellular transmission sites. He is also the Chairman of the Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain.  His connection with radio started over 50 years ago as a schoolboy, when he became a licensed radio amateur, an interest which has influenced much of his professional career. Sponsored as a Computer Science student focused on software development with Rolls Royce, he subsequently worked for GEC Telecommunications before becoming a Management Consultant with Price Waterhouse. Starting his own software house and radio communication businesses in 1979 he has found it rewarding that his two passions of software and radio have evolved into an almost common technology. He has seen his own companies being judged the Midlands Best Small Business of 2013 and the leading Company for Innovation in both 2012 and 2013. As well as remaining an active radio amateur, Steve has now amassed one of the largest personal collections of communication radio equipment in the UK, with over 3000 receivers, transmitters and ancillary equipment, the vast majority of which are fully operational. The collection spans from the early spark transmitters to the latest Software Defined Radios.

Andy Sutton - Principal Network Architect, British Telecommunications

Andy Sutton is a Principal Network Architect within BT Architecture and Strategy team. He is responsible for 5G end to end network architecture, RAN architecture evolution and mobile backhaul strategy and architecture. Andy holds an MSc in mobile communications from the University of Salford and has over 30 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s research interests include; distributed and centralised RAN and core architectures and protocols, network dimensioning, QoS and mobile backhaul (optical transmission, microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, network architecture and protocols along with synchronisation and time distribution in telecommunications networks). He also works on low latency and ultra-reliable networks architecture and design. During his career Andy has worked for Mercury Communications Ltd, Orange, H3G, EE and BT. Andy is a Visiting Professor at the University of Salford and a research mentor at the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey. Andy is a chartered engineer and holds fellowships from the IET, BCS and ITP. Andy contributes to International telecommunications standardisation activities and several industry forums. Andy also has an interest in the history and heritage of telecommunications and is a CW Heritage SIG Champion.

SIG Champions

Stirling Essex - Director, Espansivo

Stirling Essex has over 25 years of product development, product management, strategic marketing and business development experience in many areas of wireless technology, and has been intimately involved in the development of test systems for GSM, CDMA (IS-95), 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE. He founded Espansivo, a technology consultancy specialising in helping organisations with their technology, product and business decisions, in 2005. Stirling was previously a co-champion of the CW Future Wide Area Wireless Special Interest Group and has been a member of the CW Board since 2004.

Stephen Haseldine - Chairman, Deaf Alerter, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain

Steve Haseldine FIMC FRSA is the Chairman of three companies, Alerter Group plc, Electronic Communications Ltd and Evets Communications Ltd, businesses that design and manufacture in-building, radio-based, emergency communication systems; software defined radio solutions and operate PMR, FM Broadcast and Cellular transmission sites. He is also the Chairman of the Radio Communication Museum of Great Britain.  His connection with radio started over 50 years ago as a schoolboy, when he became a licensed radio amateur, an interest which has influenced much of his professional career. Sponsored as a Computer Science student focused on software development with Rolls Royce, he subsequently worked for GEC Telecommunications before becoming a Management Consultant with Price Waterhouse. Starting his own software house and radio communication businesses in 1979 he has found it rewarding that his two passions of software and radio have evolved into an almost common technology. He has seen his own companies being judged the Midlands Best Small Business of 2013 and the leading Company for Innovation in both 2012 and 2013. As well as remaining an active radio amateur, Steve has now amassed one of the largest personal collections of communication radio equipment in the UK, with over 3000 receivers, transmitters and ancillary equipment, the vast majority of which are fully operational. The collection spans from the early spark transmitters to the latest Software Defined Radios.

Simon Rockman - Editor & Publisher, CW Journal, Founder, Fuss Free Phones

Simon Rockman lives at both ends of the adoption bell curve. As an experienced technology writer he was the editor of Personal Computer World in the late 1980s and went on to found What Mobile magazine which he ran for ten years, and has reviewed over 300 handsets. As the mobile correspondent for The Register he championed CW writing a number of articles supporting the organisation. He has also had senior roles in telecoms having been the Creative Experience Director at Motorola where he looked at new uses for mobile and Head of Requirements at Sony Ericsson where we worked on innovative devices at entry level. He was the Head of the Mobile Money Information Exchange at the GSMA and has launched Fuss Free Phones an MVNO aimed at older users.

Andy Sutton - Principal Network Architect, British Telecommunications

Andy Sutton is a Principal Network Architect within BT Architecture and Strategy team. He is responsible for 5G end to end network architecture, RAN architecture evolution and mobile backhaul strategy and architecture. Andy holds an MSc in mobile communications from the University of Salford and has over 30 years of experience within the telecommunications industry. Andy’s research interests include; distributed and centralised RAN and core architectures and protocols, network dimensioning, QoS and mobile backhaul (optical transmission, microwave and millimetre wave radio systems, network architecture and protocols along with synchronisation and time distribution in telecommunications networks). He also works on low latency and ultra-reliable networks architecture and design. During his career Andy has worked for Mercury Communications Ltd, Orange, H3G, EE and BT. Andy is a Visiting Professor at the University of Salford and a research mentor at the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey. Andy is a chartered engineer and holds fellowships from the IET, BCS and ITP. Andy contributes to International telecommunications standardisation activities and several industry forums. Andy also has an interest in the history and heritage of telecommunications and is a CW Heritage SIG Champion.

Geoff Varrall - Director, RTT Online

Geoff Varrall joined RTT in 1985 as an executive director and shareholder to develop RTT's international business as a provider of technology and business services to the wireless industry. He co-developed RTT's original series of design and facilitation workshops including 'RF Technology', 'Data Over Radio', 'Introduction to Mobile Radio', and 'Private Mobile Radio Systems and developed 'The Oxford programme', a five day strategic technology and market programme presented annually between 1991 and 2005. Geoff has been running in depth technology and market workshops for the industry for over 33 years, spanning five generations of mobile cellular technology. A co-author of the Mobile Radio Servicing Handbook (Heinemann Butterworth, UK), Data Over Radio, (Quantum Publishing, Mendocino, USA and 3G Handset and Network Design (John Wiley, New York). Geoff's fourth book, Making Telecoms Work – from technical innovation to commercial success (John Wiley) was published in early 2012 followed by 5G Spectrum and Standards published by Artech House in July 2016. His latest book 5G and Satellite Spectrum Standards and Scale is now available from Artech House and can be ordered from http://uk.artechhouse.com/5G-and-Satellite-Spectrum-Standards-and-Scale-P1935.aspx Delegates to this event can get a 25% discount and free posting by applying the discount code VAR25.As a past Director of Cambridge Wireless, Geoff is actively involved in a number of wireless heritage initiatives that aim to capture and record past technology and engineering experience and is a patron of the Science Museum In his spare time he plays Jazz trumpet semi-professionally and is a marathon and ultra-runner.

Nigel Wall - Director, Climate Associates

Nigel Wall is an independent system engineering consultant and Director of Climate Associates Ltd: CAL helps organisations optimise ICT system design based on understanding the whole life carbon footprint cost of deploying innovative ICT technology compared to using current systems. Climate Associates are leading work with ITU-T SG5 and ETSI in standardising the analysis and in determining best practice. Nigel is also involved with Intelligent Transport Systems - 'connected cars' he is the Chair of the ITS UK Communications SIG and the Land Navigation & Location Group at the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Event Location

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Location info

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD

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