New Emerald Platform MEMS Timing solution introduced for 5G infrastructure

SiTime Corporation, a leading provider of MEMS timing, announced the Emerald Platform, a revolutionary precision timing solution that solves critical timing challenges for 5G infrastructure equipment. With the Emerald Platform, operators can deploy 5G equipment in harsh environments and reliably offer mission-critical services.

“Timing is potentially the single biggest point of failure in 5G systems and can impact performance, reliability, and revenue. 5G timing is a complex challenge for system OEMs, and requires a new approach beyond traditional, component-level methods that are in use today. To solve this, SiTime pioneered a systems approach with Emerald to help our customers achieve their highest level of performance and capability. By combining our revolutionary MEMS with programmable analog, innovative packaging and high-performance algorithms, we have created a solution that is up to 20 times better than what is currently available,” said Rajesh Vashist, CEO of SiTime.

SiTime’s Emerald Platform is the first MEMS oven controlled oscillator (OCXO) in the industry. OCXOs offer the pinnacle of performance in timing and are critical to the reliable operation of all communications networks. However, quartz-based OCXOs are extremely sensitive to environmental stressors such as vibration, temperature changes and shock, which can degrade network performance, reduce uptime, and impact mission-critical services such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). SiTime’s Emerald OCXOs solve these problems.

“As mobile operators move into 5G and edge computing, they will require much tighter time synchronization in the radio equipment, which necessitates the use of OCXOs. Prior to 5G, this OCXO was deployed in a well-controlled environment. Now, the computing, core network, and radio will be collapsed into a system that may be deployed in an uncontrolled environment such as a tower, rooftop, or lamppost. In this environment, the OCXO will be exposed to vibration and temperature extremes,” explained Joe Madden, Principal Analyst at Mobile Experts Inc. “This change in deployment architecture requires new thinking and an evaluation of the benefits of MEMS and quartz timing technologies.”

“Our unique systems approach is driving SiTime’s success in 200 applications at 10,000 customers,” continued Vashist. “For example, our products are always programmable, which ensures 100% availability with short lead times. Our innovative temperature compensation algorithms, in conjunction with our MEMS and analog components, ensure that 5G equipment can be deployed anywhere, in any environment. In the future, we will continue to use our systems expertise to expand our leadership in the $1.5 billion networking and telecommunications timing market.”

Solving the Usability Challenges of Quartz OCXOs

Because of the sensitivity of legacy quartz OCXOs, customers have to take many precautions to ensure reliable operation. A key challenge is the board placement of the OCXO, which needs to be located far away from stressors such as heat and airflow-induced thermal shock. This results in increased routing complexity and potential signal integrity problems.

Designers have also tried using specialized plastic OCXO covers for thermal isolation, which introduces additional manufacturing steps and production complexity. Emerald MEMS OCXOs eliminate all of these problems; they simplify design, reduce development time, accelerate revenue, while improving system performance.

Flexibility Through Programmability

Legacy quartz OCXOs are custom built, from the ground up. There are severe limitations on the availability of features, such as frequencies, output types, operating temperature, and in-system control. SiTime’s Emerald Platform MEMS OCXOs do not have these limitations.

Using a programmable analog architecture, the Emerald OCXO offers any frequency between 1 and 220 MHz, ensuring that the customer can select the optimal frequency for their application. The device also offers two output types, LVCMOS and clipped sine-wave, for optimal board performance. In the near future, the Emerald OCXO will also offer extended temperature operation (-40 to +95C, -40 to +105C) and an I2C serial interface for in-system programmability.

For more information, visit: www.sitime.com

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