IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP): A Two-Way Communication Protocol

What is IEEE 1588?

IEEE 1588v2 Precision Time Protocol, also often just called “1588” or “PTP,” was originally conceived to enable precision timing for the test and measurement community and within industrial automation systems. IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) is a packet-based two-way communications protocol specifically designed to precisely synchronize distributed clocks to sub-microsecond resolution, typically on an Ethernet or IP-based network.

What is IEEE 1588

1588 can provide real-time applications with precise time-of-day (ToD) information and time-stamped inputs, as well as scheduled and/or synchronized outputs for a variety of systems, ranging from mobile networks, industrial process control, audio-visual networks, smart energy distribution to transportation, automotive and Industrial IoT networking.

Fundamentally, the 1588 protocol depends on time-stamped frames exchanged between a timing master clock and a timing slave clock, with intermediate boundary and/or transparent clocks to maintain the time accuracy as the 1588 packets traverse the packet network. When coupled with physical layer technologies such as Synchronous Ethernet, IEEE 1588 can also provide robust time alignment, with the addition of phase synchronization. IEEE 1588 is the only standardized terrestrial mechanism today to deliver phase/time via a packet-based network with nanosecond accuracy.

Innovative IEEE 1588 Technology from Microsemi

Microsemi’s innovative IEEE 1588 technology underpins its end-to-end 1588 solutions, which range from complete systems for carriers and service providers to ICs used in equipment and end node designs requiring synchronization.

Microsemi systems with 1588 technology include:

● 1588 grand masters capable of supporting PTP, NTP and other timing protocols
● 1588-optimized oscillators, including OCXO, TXCO, and VCXO, and atomic clocks for holdover timing and enhanced clock stability in 1588-enabled networks
NTP servers
TimePictra software suite for a web-based synchronization management systems

Microsemi provides unique solutions to solve packet synchronization 1588 networks with its VeriTime™ technology. VeriTime combines a best-in-class hardware-based architecture for IEEE 1588 frame generation, detection, and single-digit time-stamp accuracy with a PTP software suite for IEEE 1588 grand master clocks, slave clocks, and boundary and transparent clocks.

VeriTime is integrated into several Microsemi Ethernet solutions:

● 1G PHYs
● 1/10G Optical Ethernet PHYs
● 10G optical transport network/forward error correction (OTN/FEC) PHYs
● ViSAA™ Ethernet switches for carrier, enterprise, and industrial applications
● CEServices™ Ethernet software packages, and carrier-grade turnkey original design manufacturer (ODM) systems solutions.

Coupled with Microsemi’s Intellisec™ IEEE 802.1AE MACsec technology, VeriTime enables the industry’s only secure 1588 solution available today, combining line-rate AES encryption with nanosecond accurate IEEE 1588 timing.

Also unique to Microsemi is our miTimePLL™ timing and synchronization technology, a unified IEEE 1588 architecture covering both hardware PLLs and 1588 software, which seamlessly combines with all Microsemi IEEE 1588 technologies.

More information on IEEE Technology.

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