SOURCE: Locata Corporation Pty Ltd

Locata Corporation Pty Ltd

September 22, 2015 08:00 ET

US Naval Observatory Demonstrates Picosecond Wireless Network Synchronization Using Locata Technology

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA and LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwired - Sep 22, 2015) -

  • TimeLoc is shown to be a hyper-accurate network synchronization technology which is 6 orders of magnitude more precise (i.e. ~1 million times better) than the current industry standards for cell tower synchronization
  • Locata's invention promises huge performance and efficiency gains in next-generation wireless networks, financial systems, stock exchanges, and more

In a ground-breaking peer-reviewed conference paper presented at the prestigious Institute of Navigation (ION) GNSS+ Conference in Tampa, Florida, the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) revealed that over the last 9 months they have been testing and demonstrating Locata's new TimeLoc wireless network synchronization technology across urban areas of Washington DC. An industry player described the performance figures, revealed for the first time by the USNO at this conference, as "simply breathtaking." In their report, the USNO showed TimeLoc maintaining synchronization between widely dispersed Locata nodes at picosecond levels. For scale, one picosecond is to a second as 1 second is to 31,710 years. This is about six orders of magnitude (1 million times) better than the current microsecond-level IEEE industry standard for 4G cell networks.

The full USNO ION Conference Paper can be downloaded from the Locata website.

High-accuracy synchronization is the very foundation of almost all digital technology -- including cellphone systems, banking, the stock exchanges, the Internet and even the electricity supply -- making the disruptive potential of such a significant advance in network synchronization hard to overstate. With more precise synchronization, digital networks deliver higher data throughput, more efficient spectrum use, higher subscriber loads, faster transaction processing, etc.

The paper now emphatically lays to rest any lingering industry doubts that Locata's radically new technology was just not possible, stating: "As TimeLoc is accomplished without the use of atomic clocks, this coverage represents a completely new league in precision network synchronization of this scale."

The USNO is one of the oldest continuously operational scientific institutions in the United States. It is renowned for developing and maintaining one of the world's most accurate and precise atomic clock systems, and in fact it operates the "US Master Clock" in Washington DC. That clock is the time standard used by the U.S. Department of Defense, by the GPS satellite constellation run by the USAF and, along with its sister civilian organization NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), it is "the official time" for the entire US nation.

The USNO's testing of TimeLoc was directed by Edward Powers, GNSS and Network Time Transfer Operations Division Chief, and USNO electronics engineer Arnold Colina.

According to the paper, "The USNO's clock system must be at least one step ahead of the demands expected to be made on its accuracy. Therefore, innovative methods of transferring precise time and frequency must continually be anticipated, investigated and supported." The Observatory thus sought to test and verify Locata's TimeLoc methodology and performance claims, investigating it as a technology which could independently maintain precise network and frequency synchronization across real-world urban areas. This capability -- the very foundation for supporting precise time transfer within urban networks -- could simultaneously deliver network performance and efficiency improvements to critical infrastructure like cell phone systems, plus cm-level accurate positioning for GPS back-up where GPS is unavailable (e.g. indoors), or being actively jammed.

"The release of this independent USNO report, which shows our TimeLoc delivering absolutely jaw-dropping real-world performance, is a magical moment for both Locata and for the future of digital networks," said Nunzio Gambale, Locata's co-founder and CEO. "We are thrilled to be working alongside Ed Powers and his USNO team in Washington DC. Having them compare TimeLoc against the US Master Clock was almost a dream come true as, truthfully, the USNO is one of the few entities in the world that has a clock accurate enough to measure TimeLoc's performance. To see these USNO results, proving our picosecond-level performance across miles of urban landscape, should silence the many skeptics in our industry that believed you just can't have this level of synchronization without using atomic clocks. Locata is single-handedly changing many of the rules which previously applied to both positioning and time. No one else on earth can deliver centimeters and picoseconds without satellites or atomic clocks. Locata is the very definition of a deeply disruptive entrant in two of the largest and most important technology segments in the world today."

"Locata co-founder David Small is the inventor of TimeLoc technology, and technical lead of the brilliant Locata engineering team that has commercialized TimeLoc," added Gambale. "Our team deserves full credit today because this amazing breakthrough reported by the USNO is all their work. What you're seeing here is the culmination of almost 20 years of effort from a Locata team that single-handedly invented, and then developed, this technology from scratch. We are immensely proud of what our team has achieved."

About TimeLoc and Synchronization
Because Locata's technology was developed as a high-precision non-GPS-based positioning system, the time synchronization levels required by LocataLite nodes is extremely high. The sub-centimeter positioning delivered by a Locata network (a "LocataNet") makes even the smallest fraction of a second significant: a one nanosecond (billionth of a second) error in time equates to an error of approximately thirty centimeters (one foot) because wireless signals travel at the speed of light.

Synchronization is now vital to the very fabric of society, but the process is generally "invisible" as it happens in the background in digital networks. Few realize that a nation's mobile phone networks, banking systems, stock exchanges, Internet, power grids and other critical infrastructures are all deeply dependent on high-accuracy time synchronization. The more accurate the synchronization, the better the network performance and efficiency. For example, all major improvements for a digital cell phone system -- as networks evolved from 2G to 3G to 4G to LTE-A to next-gen 5G -- have been based on continual improvements in the synchronization of cell tower infrastructure.

"Given the world's exploding, insatiable demand for more data transmitted via ever-faster wireless systems, synchronization will become ever more important," noted Gambale. "More wireless users and more bandwidth per user means that nanosecond -- or even picosecond -- network synchronization is one of the great emerging engineering challenges of the 21st Century. Locata has now delivered a new and completely unanticipated tool which advances the state-of-the-art by orders of magnitude. As TimeLoc is soon incorporated into chip-scale devices, it promises to revolutionize the efficiency of everything from cell phone systems to indoor positioning to the emerging Internet of Things (IoT)."

TimeLoc's hyper-accurate synchronization has the potential to massively influence the design and performance delivered by next-generation digital systems. There are few resources on earth as scarce as, or more precious than, spectrum. Hence better and cheaper ways to improve network frequency and synchronization translate directly into better use of this exceptionally valuable and extremely limited spectrum resource.

These first USNO trials have clearly demonstrated TimeLoc's relative picosecond-level synchronization of independent Locata networks. If this highly stable network capability were not in place, precise time transfer would not be possible. The next step is to now demonstrate how well a LocataNet can deliver absolute time transfer of the USNO's Master Clock time to any other network node across areas of Washington DC.

"We wish to thank the USNO, Ed Powers and his expert team for conducting these immensely important urban TimeLoc demonstrations," Gambale concluded. "Organizations and teams like these continue to expand the boundaries of human knowledge. In the process they enhance both their own reputations, and the value of the work they deliver to their nations."

About Locata
Locata Corporation has invented completely new terrestrial positioning and timing networks which function as local, ground-based replicas of GPS. These networks can best be thought of as "GPS hotspots." There is no other technology that can do this. Many years of R&D have resulted in Locata amassing 146 granted patents to date protecting these innovations, with many more patents in the works. Locata has now begun shipping commercial systems, in the first instance to extremely demanding and professional end users like the USAF and NASA. Many large industrial customers are also currently working with Locata under cover of NDAs. Locata allows them -- for the first time -- to extend GPS-like positioning and timing coverage to their industrial, commercial, consumer and government applications in areas where GPS is erratic, jammed or completely unavailable.

Locata has pioneered this new "GPS everywhere" experience almost single-handedly, and has now begun to deliver it to the world in partnership with the best companies in the industry. Positioning and timing will never be the same again.

Visit www.locata.com

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