How is our network synchronization solution with Iridium® STL technology boosting PNT resilience for L3Harris?

The deployment of our OSA 5405-S in US national aviation infrastructure marks just the beginning for this compact and versatile device. Here’s how it’s transforming PNT assurance as an alternative to GPS for critical infrastructure.

The US’s Global Positioning System (GPS) plays a key role in communications networks worldwide. But with jamming and spoofing attacks increasing, and naturally occurring phenomena such as geomagnetic storms also posing a threat, operators of critical infrastructure are seeking new ways to render existing PNT architectures more robust.

L3Harris Technologies, a major US aerospace and defense contractor, is no different. To support the delivery of voice, data and video communications across key elements of Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) infrastructure, the company recently signed a five-year contract with Iridium Communications Inc., enabling it to harness the Iridium® Satellite Time and Location (STL) service in its communications network backbone nodes and FAA facilities throughout the US. 

How does Iridium STL differ from GPS?

The Iridium® STL service leverages low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The signals broadcast by the Iridium satellites for the STL service are 1,000 times the strength of GPS and also encrypted – both features that aid in the fight against jamming and spoofing. What’s more, LEO signals can penetrate GPS blackspots, meaning they can be accessed in urban canyons or indoor environments.

So far, so impressive. However, to receive and distribute the PNT information transmitted by Iridium’s STL service, dedicated hardware is needed. And this is where the new OSA 5405-S from Adtran’s Oscilloquartz comes in. As a dual-source PTP grandmaster, GPS receiver and STL receiver, it brings unparalleled reliability and resilience to PNT infrastructure, ensuring uninterrupted operations even in challenging environments.

Universal applicability

Our OSA 5405-S ensures uninterrupted zero-trust architecture PNT connectivity for a range of critical infrastructure applications, including aviation communications networks like those operated by L3Harris. The solution can be used as a fallback option to provide backup when GPS reception fails or can also be deployed as a standalone GPS substitute.

A hybrid timing tool

The OSA 5405-S’s multiple ports enable easy integration into existing network infrastructure, and its compact footprint lends itself to desk, wall, DIN or rack mounting. Here are just some of the highlights of its feature set: 

  • Supports Iridium’s LEO satellites providing STL service and up to three concurrent GNSS constellations, including GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and GALILEO
  • Hardware-supported jamming and spoofing detection
  • High-power LEO signal reception for resilience to spoofing attacks
  • PTP support that extends across all industries with multiple concurrent profiles and conversions
  • Dual Ethernet interfaces

All these capabilities and more are packed into a device so small it fits in the palm of your hand.

There are a dizzying number of use cases that require compact, scalable solutions able to provide a source of accurate timing information in places where using GPS would be impractical or impossible. The 5405-S’s innate flexibility also makes it an incredibly cost-effective option for when GPS services are offline or compromised.

As showcased by L3Harris, utilizing the Iridium® STL service to eliminate dependencies on GPS as a primary timing source is crucial for maintaining high-performance operations. Whether you need to synchronize 5G cell sites, operate smart utility grid applications or bolster the resilience of critical communications networks, the OSA 5405-S ensures robust and reliable performance. 


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