Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Modules set benchmark for GNSS precision timing

Steve Rogerson
January 7, 2015
Timing modules that can generate a precise reference clock with better than 20ns accuracy are suitable for mission-critical infrastructure systems including mobile communications networks, power generation and distribution systems, and seismic measurements.
The U-Blox NEO-M8T and LEA-M8T provide high sensitivity (-157dBm signal acquisition with assisted GNSS) to enable quick start-up, even inside structures with limited sky-view. The precise reference clock is derived from multi-GNSS including GPS, Glonass and Beidou.
“The M8T timing modules are delivered in U-Blox's established LEA and NEO form-factors with standardised pin-out, allowing ready migration from previous product generations,” said Tim Bonnett, director and chief sales officer for M2M and IOT communications companyAlpha Micro Components, which is selling the modules. “These timing products can make optional use of U-Blox AssistNow or industry standard aiding data. This reduces the time to first fix and delivers exceptional acquisition sensitivity, even on first installation before precise location or time is known.”
The LEA-M8T module is footprint compatible with existing LEA-5T/6T designs, facilitating easy upgrade. The NEO-M8T is optimised for timing applications requiring low power consumption and long battery life, such as geophones used for seismic field measurements. The modules meet stringent requirements for reliability, accuracy and low power consumption.
The surface-mount modules are multi-GNSS, pin compatible successors to U-Blox's existing PPS timing modules and complements the previously announced GNSS disciplined frequency reference module, LEA-M8F.
"These new modules are the industry's highest performance GNSS timing modules in terms of accuracy, reliability and power consumption," said Thomas Nigg, vice president of product marketing at U-Blox.
Measuring 12.2 by 16.0 mm (NEO-M8T) and 17.0 by 22.4 mm (LEA-M8T), the modules deliver high integrity and reliability with RAIM (receiver autonomous integrity monitoring) and alarms. Two time-pulse outputs are available, configurable from once per minute up to 10MHz. The modules also output multi-GNSS raw data, including carrier phase, code phase and pseudo-ranges.
The modules can deliver time according to any international standard, including calibration of interconstellation offsets. Survey-in and single satellite timing features increase timing accuracy and timing availability with as few as one single satellite in view. Support for low duty cycle operation reduces power consumption for battery-powered applications, which results in cost savings as smaller batteries can be used.