Microchip Introduces New Resilient, Redundant Source of Secure Network Timing and Synchronization for Power Plant Operators

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

April 26, 2022


Microchip Introduces New Resilient, Redundant Source of Secure Network Timing and Synchronization for Power Plant Operators

Microchip Technology announced its GridTime 3000 GNSS Time Server – a software-configurable solution providing substations with a new level of redundancy, security, and resiliency.

The GridTime 3000 system generates precise time and frequency signals to synchronize analog and digital communication systems. This resilient timing platform incorporates multiple timing inputs for protection in the event of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal disruption caused by severe weather, environmental disturbances or signal jamming or spoofing. Additionally, three levels of internal holdover options are available including a base Voltage Controlled Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillator (VCTCXO) and an optional high-performance Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO), or Rubidium oscillator option to extend holdover duration and enhance performance.

Microchip’s newest precision time server is compliant with IEC 61850-3, the environmental component of IEC 61850, an industry standard that defines communication protocols for power substations. It is also compliant with IEEE 1613-2009, the international environmental and testing requirements standard for power substations. Compliance to these standards demonstrates high resistance to electrical transients and environmental extremes including temperature, humidity, and other factors and helps to ensure reliability in harsh substation environments. 

Incorporating a hardware-based cryptographic assurance module, the GridTime 3000 system utilizes industry-standard Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman (RSA)- and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)-based encryption to protect against unauthorized configuration upload of malicious code. 

The GridTime 3000 server, with a licensed feature model, provides flexibility than earlier technology, allowing clients to upgrade system technology as needed. Developed with input from customers, the GridTime 3000 server offers ten 1000BASE-T Ethernet (1 Gbps) ports for high-speed synchronization using Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and Network Time Protocol (NTP). 

This technology complements Microchip’s other timing and synchronization solutions including the TimePictra Synchronization Management System providing status and configuration support, BlueSky GNSS Firewall for protecting GNSS systems against threats from jamming and spoofing, and interoperability with the TimeProvider 4100 timing server family. 

The GridTime 3000 server utilizes numerous Microchip technologies including integrated circuits and oscillators to offer customers a comprehensive and reliable solution. In addition to precise GNSS-based systems and other time and frequency solutions, Microchip’s product portfolio includes in-house fabrication and total system solutions that span power, connectivity, storage, security, and memory technology. 

Microchip’s GridTime 3000 GNSS Time Server includes an internal web browser management interface, Clock Management Tool (CMT). The CMT provides configuration and management for remote managing and monitoring of the device and a new array of accessories including a multi-band, multi-constellation GNSS receiver system, and cold-swappable power supplies. 

The GridTime 3000 GNSS Time Server is available immediately and is in volume production.

For more information, visit: www.microchip.com.

Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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