Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

U-Blox provides critical timing for China Unicom

Steve Rogerson
April 17, 2019



Swiss positioning and wireless communications company U-Blox is providing critical timing technology to strengthen 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. Various telecoms 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 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 better timing accuracy than is needed in 4G to ensure the availability, latency and scalability of the 5G network.
 
“U-Blox’s future-proof timing technology is being used by multiple companies supplying base stations for this China Unicom contract,” said Thomas Seiler, U-Blox CEO. “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.”
 
With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, U-Blox has offices in Europe, Asia and the USA.