Sometime in November it became evident to us that our network time clock was going the way of the Dodo. We were notified that the WWVB radios were going off line January 21, 2013.
Our old 8182 NetClock/2 system was based off old technology utilizing the WWVB signal (radio) out of Fort Collins, CO. The new current standard for a NetClock system is to utilize GPS as a timing reference. GPS requires a different antenna system. GPS is more accurate and reliable than the old WWVB signal. The newer GPS based NetClock’s offer legally traceable time; GPS provides a UTC world time reference.
I contacted Spectracom to find out what system would work for our complex time sync situation. We provide time to three different key components of 911 (phone, radio and computer network). The old NetClock required a main clock and secondary boxes to provide time to more than one network. We figured out quit quickly with the help of Matt Loomis which system we needed. We made the purchase and about two weeks later we had everything we needed to upgrade our time.
9483 NetClock is a new product release for Spectracom – (a direct replacement for the 8182 NetClock/2). This NetClock 9483 is a 5th generation GPS time server/master clock. It employs an all-new modular design, compared to our previous monolithic models, and offers several new features and capabilities we have been asked to offer in our timing platform. A key feature is the ability to add a 3-network port card module that would provide a total of 4 separate isolated network ports in a single 1U chassis to deliver our highly accurate NTP legally traceable timing.
Key Features and Benefits of the new NetClocks include:
- Ethernet 10/100 Base-T (additional 3-network Gig-E option) – expandable for multiple isolated networks
- 12-Channel GPS receiver – synchronize to more satellites to ensure accurate timing
- Web browser user interface – easy to install and access anywhere on the network
- Integral time server with IPv4/v6 Compatibility – universal network time synchronization
- Highly Secure network interface (employs SSL, SSH, SNMPv3, SCP, SFTP, IPsec) – safe, secure operation
- GPS Back-up OCXO Oscillator (option) – maintains seamless synchronization even if GPS is lost
- RoHS-compliant/UL approved – environmentally friendly
- Unparalleled Technical Support – for life
- 5 year warranty – ultra reliable design
Installing the new NetClock 9483 was fairly straight forward. First we ran the GPS antenna to the roof. Lucky for us our server room houses a lot of equipment that requires antennas on the roof. We ran the thick coaxial cable to the roof and mounted the GPS antenna. Next we mounted the NetClock to our rack and ran 2 CAT5 runs from our phone system network, and our computer network. We configured the IP addresses using the NetClock’s interface. We then used a laptop to configure all of the setup of the NetClock 9483. It was mostly straightforward but their web interface leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not very pretty and not user friendly enough. Not really an issue when this is a set it up once kind of thing. The final configuration required one phone call to tech support and was completely resolved in a matter of minutes.
We also installed a large clock on our operations floor. The clock is referred to as “God’s Clock” since every thing we do is based of its time.
Here we are more than 2 months later and the NetClock is functioning perfect and we didn’t have a single hiccup since the deactivation of the old NetClock system and radios.
The install took 2 of us about 4 hours. This including running cables, mounting an antenna on the roof and assorted other install tasks. The kit was complete with everything from cables to antenna, wiring, grounding and more. No complaints. Cost was approximately $10,000.