u-blox has announced that it is providing critical timing technology to strengthen the Chinese MNO (mobile network operator) China Unicom’s 4G network and provide a platform for the rollout of 5G connectivity. China Unicom announced in January that it wanted to buy 416,000 4G base stations, to extend its network’s reach, and strengthen its voice, data and IoT support. Several telecom network equipment suppliers were chosen to fulfil the contract, several of which are u-blox customers.
Although the contract is for 4G, the new base stations need to meet the stricter timing accuracy requirements of 5G in order to allow for a smooth upgrade to the new mobile network standard.
5G networks will offer latencies of less than 1ms (compared with 10ms for 4G), ten times greater connection densities than 4G, and peak data rates of up to 20Gbit/s, twenty times more than 4G. Each of these factors demands greater timing accuracy than is needed in 4G to ensure the availability, latency and scalability of the 5G network.
Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO, said: “u-blox’s future-proof timing technology is being used by multiple companies supplying base stations for this China Unicom contract. We are delighted to be involved on such a large scale in strengthening their current network and providing a platform for the future implementation of 5G in China.”