Sub-microsecond timing and synchronization are critical to many real-time embedded applications such as IP-based audio/video, wireless, electric power generation and control, industrial automation and control, test and measurement, telecommunications, medical, and military. Tight synchronization of multiple distributed devices is a critical issue facing developers of today’s embedded systems.
With the widespread adoption of Ethernet as an embedded networking technology, new standards have emerged to add precision timing and synchonization to Ethernet itself – notably the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP). PTP leverages Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) networking standards, equipment, and cabling to provide precision timing to distributed embedded devices. But unlike older approaches, PTP offers significant advantages in cost, performance, reliability, and flexibility. PTP can even operate across heterogeneous networks incorporating not only Ethernet, but other standards including CAN and 802.11 Wi-Fi.
Using PTP, embedded systems developers can synchronize distributed devices to accuracies in the nanosecond range. And PTP offers “no new wires” simplicity and low cost by reusing the existing COTS network infrastructure to distribute timing information and achieve synchronization across the network itself. PTP eliminates the need for extra equipment at each embedded device, such as a GPS receiver, and extra connections, such as coaxial cables needed by the venerable IRIG standard.
For information on how PTP can give your embedded products significant competitive advantages in the marketplace, please read more below.
Based on the Intel Atom Z5xxP series, Cinnamon Bay SBC is a tiny, low cost embedded SBC supporting both IEEE 1588 and 802.1as. With features including power consumption as low as 3.5W, on-board hardware offloaded HD video decoder, optional -40 to +85C extended temperature SKUs, and optional 802.3at Power Over Ethernet, Cinnamon Bay SBC is the ideal platform to build advanced PTP-enabled embedded systems.
Thanks to the advanced implemenation of IEEE 1588 on the Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor, ADI’s Mini-ITX Ocracoke Island SBC offers a comprehensive IEEE 1588 hardware solution and timing accuracies as tight as 15ns. While many embedded SBCs with hardware IEEE 1588 support stop at packet timestamping, Intel’s EP80579 allows Ocracoke Island SBC to take its IEEE 1588 solution one crucial step further – a frequency-compensated hardware system clock for the highest possible accuracy and complete timing continuity during PTP synchronization updates. With its best of breed IEEE 1588 implementation, 0 to 70C and -40 to +85C versions, and a rich set of networking and communication features, Ocracoke Island SBC serves as an ideal platform in applications including wind turbine controllers, smart grid controllers, wireless infrastructure, ruggedized vehicle computers, train controllers, military and aerospace, and industrial control.
Industry View: IEEE 1588 to Transform Timing Synchronization
Evaluation Engineering gives a real-world view of the real-time applications IEEE 1588 is poised to transform, and why. From motion control, to distribued controllers for wind turbines and large gas and steam turbines, and telecomm, wireless, audio/video bridging, and military, author Paul Schreier tackles PTP benefits and challenges.
This application note from Intel explains in detail how to implement IEEE 1588 on the EP80579 processor used on ADI’s Orcacoke Island SBC, to achieve clock synchronization accuracies in the tens of nanoseconds.
IEEE Symposium Paper: Limits of Synchronization Accuracy Using Hardware Support in IEEE 1588
This paper examines the factors that influence the accuracy of hardware assisted IEEE 1588 implementations, the limits of synchronization accuracy, and ways to optimize performance.
Download the slides for our June 15 webinar “IEEE 1588 for Embedded Hardware Teardown”