[time-nuts] NIST

Bob kb8tq kb8tq at n1k.org
Fri Aug 31 09:36:34 EDT 2018


 “Backbone timing” gets done by boxes buried deep in systems. Those systems take years
to design. The boxes that go in them similarly take years to get onto the market. Once designed
deployment is far from instantaneous. Operators are always pressed by cost constraints. Adding
anything beyond the minimums … not going to happen.

The result is that there are no systems out there that use WWVB or WWV other than wrist watches
and wall clock like devices. Utilities (cell phones, internet, finance ) run with something else. Converting
them to a secondary “something” is a many years sort of thing, even if it is technically feasible. 

You can pull a bunch of spare GPS sat’s out of storage and get them in orbit *way* quicker than you can 
rebuild every cell tower in the country. In fact, newer designs run their timing in a way that a GPS failure 
is not that big a deal. How long it’ll take before that sort of design is common in the US…. years and years …

If you are going to come up with a time source at the ~ 10 ns level, that’s not going to happen from WWVB
or WWV. They never were good enough to get to that level and it’s not on the transmit end. You would need
a very different system. It’s been a long time since any of these services (internet, finance, cell )  were in the 
millisecond or even the microsecond range. The modern stuff in all theses areas  is  < 100 ns. 

How long would it take to change all this? Well first some random Senior Member of the IEEE would 
have to start writing papers about the various issues. Various organizations in various countries would 
need to hold meeting after meeting after meeting talking things over. Somebody eventually would have
to come up with funds to actually try a few things. Maybe they work in the real world / maybe they don’t

Once you prove you have a system that can do “good enough", you would need laws / regulations passed to
make the “new thing” part of the required designs. You also need funding bills to deploy the “source” end 
of things and time to get that up and running. Once it’s running, you then give manufacturers some amount of time 
to get it in the field ….. and extensions when that doesn’t happen. Twenty years? Thirty years? Maybe longer? 
This stuff does not go very fast. 

Best bet on what the “new thing” would be? Something like IEEE-1588 over fiber. It cuts out a bunch of this and 
that in terms of experiments and testing the basic system. We know most of *how* to do it already. It’s just a matter 
of a  billions of dollars in tax money to get the gaps filled in and then a few tens of billions in tax money to get
the backbone gear in place. Once that’s done you ramp up to the really expensive part of the deal ….Is it paid
for by your tax return in April or by a higher price on every cell call / transaction you make? … who knows … it’s 
a tax that you are paying either way. 


> On Aug 30, 2018, at 2:14 PM, Peter Laws via time-nuts <time-nuts at lists.febo.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 12:59 PM Bob kb8tq <kb8tq at n1k.org> wrote:
>> There most certainly was a lot of “stuff” in orbit by that time. If there was
>> a mass die off of satellites, you would not have to look hard to find out about
>> it.
> Probably not as many as there are 3 decades later, but of course.
> Satellite service (any type of satellite) is much more likely to be
> human-caued.
> But here (and in other fora) the concern is that WWV Must Be
> Maintained in order to save us from being late for coffee if another
> event on the level of the Carrington Event takes out every single GNSS
> spacecraft in orbit.  But I can't find anything on the effect of that
> sort of solar event on satellites.  Almost as if, maybe, satellite
> operators were aware of solar physics and planned for this sort of
> event.
> And I still haven't seen any coherent argument in favor of keeping WWV
> that doesn't involve nostalgia or (perhaps) unfounded fear.
> -- 
> Peter Laws | N5UWY | plaws plaws net | Travel by Train!
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