Distractions are everywhere, whether it's your social media feed, your dog pawing at you for a scratch behind the ear, or a cloud in the sky that looks like ice cream.
All these things are wonderful on their own, but when you're trying to get some work done, it's best if you can minimize disruptions.
The same is true when your job is to keep your facility on schedule. Critical to this mission is your synchronized time system, which, in very rare cases, can encounter its own kind of distraction — signal interference.
It's a phenomenon you'll want to be aware of if your timekeeping system uses wireless clocks, which stay in sync by receiving a radio signal from a master controller. Here, we'll look at the causes of signal interference and the steps you can take to prevent it or mitigate disruptions.
What is Signal Interference?
As we said, wireless clock systems stay in sync by receiving a radio frequency from a master controller. In turn, the master gets the time from either GPS satellites or Network Time Protocol, which works over the internet. Signal interference occurs when the radio frequency used by the master controller is disrupted by another signal.
Although the occurrence is rare, interference is most likely to happen when clocks are located on the edge of the master's wireless range, thus receiving a weak signal that can be drowned out at times by a stronger one.
Trouble Caused By Signal Interference
The potential consequence of signal interference is a timekeeping system not doing what it's supposed to, such as failing to set off the bells that mark a class schedule in a school. The phenomenon, however, can cause far more dire consequences than a class schedule going haywire, depending on the type of facility.
For instance, the problem of signal disruption was once a concern at hospitals, which are full of medical equipment. In those facilities, powerful equipment would emit its own signals that interfered with the clocks' timekeeping frequencies.
Now, thankfully, reputable timekeeping vendors make sure their clocks are not on the same frequency as the other equipment in a hospital.
Mitigation and Prevention
One way to mitigate the chances of interference in your wireless timekeeping system is to adjust its broadcast frequency. When wireless clock systems broadcast the time signal intermittently, it lowers the chance for it to encounter interferences.Quiet mode is a way for your wireless system to broadcast less frequently, but often enough so that the clocks are still accurate. It works by having the master only send a signal to the clocks at 8:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 8:00 pm. Additionally, the master will transmit more frequently overnight when it’s less likely to interfere with daily business. The master will send a signal every 90 seconds from 12:00 am to 6:00 am.If you need to install a new clock when the master is on quiet mode, you have a couple options.
If your new clock needs immediate correction, quiet mode can be temporarily disabled.
If the correction can wait, simply install the clock and the master will correct it overnight.
So, if you're experiencing signal interference, don't worry, there are ways to mitigate the effects or prevent it altogether. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-328-8996. We're happy to help you with your clock synchronization needs.