Elite X Super-TCXO Delivers 2x Better Stability and 30x Higher Reliability

Parent Category: 2022 HFE

2022 05 CorpSpot

I recently spoke with Piyush Sevalia, Executive Vice President, Marketing – SiTime Corporation (NASDAQ: SITM) at their headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. They have shipped over 2 billion devices to date – impressive! The rapid adoption of 5G is driving explosive growth in edge deployment including public and private networks, edge datacenters, industrial internet of things (IIoT), and autonomous vehicles.

In 2025 the 5G radio access network (RAN) is expected to support over 30% of all mobile internet connections. Server spending in edge datacenters will grow by 4000% from 2020, and 22 million autonomous vehicles are projected to be on the road. Precision timing is fundamental to the technology driving 5G and edge networks. For example, the 5G access network requires each radio to be synchronized within 130 ns, 10X more stringent than 4G. Hosted financial transactions need time stamps accurate within 50 micro-seconds to meet regulatory requirements. IoT sensors need to maintain time error under one millisecond over field deployments lasting 30 days or more. Precision timing helps meet these stringent requirements.

In addition to the growing need for precise time, today’s oscillators need to be more environmentally robust, reliable, smaller, and lower power than ever before. Rapid thermal shock and vibration are common occurrences in outdoor environments where radio units, edge datacenters, and vehicles reside. Compact devices like small cell radio units and remote sensors are driving precise timing solutions to be smaller with less DC power consumption. Finally, as mission critical applications like the 5G network and autonomous vehicles become increasingly dependent on precise time, quality and reliability needs to be better than ever. In a recent network outage that lasted just over 12 hours, over 20,000 calls to emergency services failed.

A few days after our discussion, SiTime introduced the Elite X™ Super-TCXO® for edge networks such as data centers, 5G front haul, connected cars and the IIoT. In these applications, Elite X solves critical timing problems and enables delivery of new services. Piyush said Elite X Super-TCXO shines by delivering 2x better stability and 30x higher reliability than quartz mini-OCXOs. Consequently, we believe that Elite X will now be the precision timing device of choice in edge equipment.”

To enable new time-sensitive services such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), virtual reality, and smart manufacturing, edge devices will need to deliver faster speeds with lower latency. Precision timing plays a crucial role in their success. Legacy timing devices such as quartz TCXOs and mini-OCXOs have well-known weaknesses such as sensitivity to thermal shock and vibration, stability degradation at high temperatures, and shorter operating life.

Elite X uses silicon MEMS technology that is inherently more robust and reliable, overcoming these problems of quartz TCXOs and mini-OCXOs, and thus enables the next generation of time-sensitive services everywhere. In edge networks, additional specifications such as aging, warm-up time, and power consumption are important. SiTime Elite X outperforms legacy timing devices, simplifies system design, and offers dependable, consistent performance.

With Elite X (±10-20 ppb stability), Emerald (±5 ppb), and Elite (±50-500 ppb), SiTime offers a broad portfolio of best-in-class TCXOs and OCXOs that meet various application requirements.

The SiT5501 Elite X Super-TCXO includes the following features and benefits:

Any frequency from 1 to 60 MHz with 1 Hz accuracy

SiTime is a fabless company. I asked about supply chain and whether their suppliers could be subject to unstable government situations. Piyush went through an extensive list of suppliers worldwide and it was reassuring that they are not dependent on just a couple of countries for manufacturing their devices. Their wafers yield remarkably high quantities, which also helps the supply issue. I also asked - with something like thirty timing devices in emerging vehicles, why not a master clock? He indicated that idea is quite feasible for the future.

For more information, visit sitime.com.

—Tom Perkins, HFE Senior Technical Editor