MEMS-based OCXO will “unlock” server timing market, says SiTime

Claimed to deliver a stable clock to data centre and network infrastructure equipment, the SiT58xx Epoch MEMS-based, oven controlled oscillator (OCXO) series has been unveiled by SiTime.
It challenges quartz-based technology in this sector, said SiTime, which has already announced that the Epoch technology will be extended to other high-growth electronics markets, such as aerospace and defence and industrial controls.

Epoch is the result of five years of engineering investment and a systems-based development approach that combines MEMS, analogue, packaging and algorithms, said the company.
Precision timing is critical to network performance and reliability. All nodes in the network must be synchronised precisely. For example, all nodes in a 5G network must  be synchronised within hundreds of nanoseconds, which is 10 times more stringent than 4G requirements. SiTime claimed that Epoch delivers up to two times better performance, a reduction in size i.e., 9.0 x 7.0 x 3.73mm, and a three-fold reduction in power, the OCXOs can be used in data centre switches and routers, 5G base stations and core infrastructure.
It can also play a role in AI and cloud data centres. Dave Altavilla, co-founder, president and principal analyst at HotTech Vision & Analysis, commented. “The high bandwidth, low latency data centre infrastructure needed to support AI will require robust precision timing for critical wired and wireless network connectivity,” he observed. “Furthermore, these technologies will also be deployed at the edge and in the field, where tough environmental conditions will require more ruggedness and higher reliability than ever before.”
According to SiTime, legacy quartz OCXOs are inherently unreliable and prone to performance degradation in the presence of environmental stressors such as temperature changes and vibration. The Epoch platform delivers twice the holdover of traditional quartz OCXOs, even under environmental stressors, said SiTime, enabling telecomms and cloud service providers to deliver service continuity in real-world conditions.
The OCXOs operate at frequencies between 10 and 220MHz, programmable up to six decimal places of accuracy. They also offer eight hours of holdover, up to 12 hours with ageing compensation (±0.08 ppb/day) and perform with frequency stability over temperature of ±1, ±3 and ±5 ppb. Time to stability is 60 seconds. The operating temperature range is -40 to +95 degrees C. Operating supply voltage is 2.5, 2.8 and 3.3V and operating power is just 420mW.
Engineering samples of the SiT58xx Epoch platform are available now for qualified customers. General samples will be available in October 2023. Volume production is expected in early 2024.

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