Weekly Takeaways-July 29, 2022
Theme of the Week
Timing is Everything GPS was the borne out of the space age nearly a half a century ago. But for two decades we have known that something better is needed. Now, with the advancement of four core technologies, the conditions are ripe:
Cheap access to space
Commercial quantum communication systems
The golden age of atomic clocks
Ubiquitous space-based optical communications hardware
The need for a better global timing system has been around since networks went digital. But you can't bake the perfect cake until the ingredients are ready. Timing is everything. Last Week's Theme: How to Transfer Time
“Why Isn’t Russia jamming GPS harder in Ukraine?” There has been local jamming in Ukraine and even around Finland and Norway, but “Russian interference with GPS in Ukraine has not been nearly as aggressive as many observers had expected.”
Last week a cybersecurity firm found a security flaw in a GPS vehicle tracker built by a Chinese firm that “if exploited, cut off a vehicle’s fuel, physically stop it, or surveil its movement.” This week the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an alert on this tracker that potentially is used in 1.5M vehicles including 420,000 government vehicles.
A quantum internet that will network quantum computers is likely decades away, but National Defense University researchers published a roadmap on how to get there.
Only halfway through 2022, VC fundraising is set to surpass 2021 record, according to a PitchBook analysis.
A new Strategic Options task force was established on the Defense Science Board (DSB) to "rebalance intervention cost and benefit" and restore the U.S. military's "operational dominance."
Small Satellite Conference, August 6 - 11, Logan, Utah
Optics + Photonics, August 21 - 25, San Diego, CA
ION GNSS+ 2022, September 19 - 23, Denver, CO
IEEE Quantum Week 2022, September 18 - 23, Broomfield, CO
APSCC 2022, October 18 - 20, Seoul, Korea
Tough Tech Summit, October 27 - 28, Boston, MA
International Timing and Sync Forum, November 7 - 10, Dusseldorf, Germany
The More You Know...
All networks rely on timing from GPS. So what happens when GPS goes down? Well, you hope it comes back online. And quickly. An outage of more than a few hours would result in the degradation, then loss, of the network. If you want your networks to last more than a few hours, you need to build in resiliency against an outage, known as holdover. And that can get expensive. There are a number of ways to do this, using multiple sources of timing independent of GPS. The two main options:
Add very stable clocks, or multiple spatially separated GPS receivers, throughout the network. But that requires additional hardware as well as the design of a timing network.
Buy a box that has multiple stable clocks disciplined to the GPS timing signal when it is available. But these units are expensive - exotic car expensive.