Time and frequency distribution in the GÉANT network

Guy Roberts
TrackTrack 1
DescriptionThe CLONETS-DS (clock networks design study)* consortium is in the closing stages of preparing a report which will identify Europe’s requirements for very accurate time and frequency reference delivery over fiber optic cables.  Use cases include metrology applications such as optical clock comparisons, fundamental research or relativistic geodesy; traditional satellite based GPS time distribution is no-longer have the accuracy needed to be able to meet all the needs of these new users. The design study has described a set of options for realizing a pan-European fiber infrastructure that will be able to deliver time at an accuracy never before achieved.

In 2019, GÉANT recognized that as we were about to rebuild the DWDM and dark fiber layers of our network, it would be a good opportunity to ensure that the network would support future time/frequency services as identified in the first CLONETS study.  This requirement was recognized to as capability that could be a key differentiating factor between GÉANT and other network providers (commercial or etc).  To achieve this objective GÉANT has 1. Become the project coordinator for CLONETS-DS, and 2. we have designed in the capability to carrying both traditional internet traffic and time/frequency into the DWDM layer of the new GÉANT network.

In this presentation I will describe the engineering solution that GÉANT has developed over the past 2 years to meet the CLONETS objectives.  I will compare this to other possible solutions and consider the cost/benefits of these options.

* CLONETS-DS is a research and innovation action funded by the European Union to facilitate the vision of a sustainable pan-European fibre optic network for the dissemination of accurate time and frequency references by bringing together the expertise of national metrology institutes (NMIs), academic groups and research infrastructures (RIs), research and education networks at national and European level (National Research Network (NREN), GÉANT and innovative high-tech small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Presentation documents

All talks