Since the advent of the telecom industry, network synchronization has been an important factor for voice communications. Early on, frequency synchronization was adopted to ensure high quality and highly reliable telephone calls. In today’s networks, data traffic consumes the bulk of the network bandwidth. Although voice communications now comprise a small fraction of network bandwidth, frequency and time/phase synchronization are still required to ensure network operation and reliability.
Time synchronization became important when networks started using time division duplexing (TDD). With the forthcoming rollout of 5G, very tight time/phase synchronization, along with frequency synchronization, will be essential for these networks to improve data throughput to support the demands of emerging applications such as autonomous driving, remote surgery, and more precise geolocation.