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  • Writer's pictureDAVID MITLYNG

Weekly Takeaways-June2, 20222

Theme of the Week Long Distance Synchronization Synchronization is easy for clocks in close proximity. In fact, collocated systems tend to self-synchronize. This is why soldiers don’t walk in formation over bridges. Clocks that are separated, but connected within a local network, can be synchronized with local time transfer techniques like Precision Time Protocol (PTP). But synchronizing two clocks separated by large distances are more challenging. Terrestrial networks have a lot of "hops" between nodes that add to a timing budget. Hence the importance of GPS, the world's first global time distribution system. But GPS has an accuracy ceiling of 30 nanoseconds, which isn't good enough for future networks. NIST has even launched a service to double that accuracy for a steep fee. Space is the only way to provide global timing. Last Week's Theme: Space + Time Industry News

  • A future quantum network will require quantum teleportation, which uses entangled photons to teleport information (not matter, à la Star Trek). Researchers at QuTech, a collaboration between Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), recently demonstrated quantum teleportation across three physical locations.

  • Researcher from Australia and Singapore are looking at a quantum network made up of error corrected quantum memories that are entangled via optical signals in order to coherently integrate photons on a global scale -- the optical equivalent of very long baseline radio telescopes. However, a key basic requirement is a system for reliable global entanglement distribution.

  • Researchers in China believe there is way to use quantum communication links to detect earthquakes, while Japan researchers are looking at early tsunami and earthquake warning using sensitive position sensors.

  • For those looking to have quantum random numbers in their next Samsung phone: sorry, it is only available in Korea.

  • The next iteration of the 5G standard 3GPP Release 17 will contain non-terrestrial networks (NTN) standards, easing the integration of space and terrestrial connectivity.

  • Citi’s new “Space: The Dawn of a New Age” report estimates that the space industry will generate $1T in revenue by 2040, up from $370B today, with the fastest growth coming from "new space applications and industries.” The report argues that this is enabled by cheaper launch prices, which they estimate to drop to $100/kg by 2040 from $1500/kg today.


The More You Know...

The vulnerabilities of GPS has been well-documented for over two decades. Since then the National Timing Resilience and Security Act of 2018 was passed to develop an Alternative Timing System to augment and replace GPS. These plans have since been moving slowly, spurred on a bit by Russia's jamming and threats to GPS. Within the current budget funding is passing through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "to boost the resiliency of positioning, navigation and timing systems across the country." This allows the DHS "to revive PNT-focused programs that were about to be closed," according to the DHS strategic program manager for Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Research (CISRR). But the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation (RNTF) is not impressed, calling it: "$172M to Admire the Problem, Not 1 Cent to Fix It."


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