Microchip’s New Timing Grandmaster Enhancements Improve Deployment Flexibility, Security, and Scalability

By Taryn Engmark

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

October 14, 2021


Microchip’s New Timing Grandmaster Enhancements Improve Deployment Flexibility, Security, and Scalability

Infrastructure communication networks – 5G mobile, utilities, cable, transportation, defense and data centers – acquire and maintain signals for precise timing from Global Positioning System (GPS) or other worldwide satellite constellations. These networks require redundant backup systems when Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals are unavailable.

The TimeProvider® 4100 Release 2.3 precision timing grandmaster from Microchip Technology Inc. meets this requirement with the industry’s very latest IEEE® 1588 v2.1 2019 security standard for protection of timing systems.

Microchip’s TimeProvider 4100 Release 2.3 grandmaster introduces an ultra-resilient multi-client Precision Time Protocol (PTP) optional license, providing customers with up to three connections to other grandmasters in the operator’s network. This capability can be used as a backup for time and phase input. This option implements the latest IEEE 1588 2.1 standard majority vote mechanism to select the best input for Assisted Partial Timing Support backup protection.

Additionally, TimeProvider 4100 Release 2.3 provides more deployment flexibility with support for two PTP server profiles on every Ethernet port. Customers can optimize usage of these ports without additional hardware investments. TimeProvider Release 2.3 also allows PTP server, PTP client, and in-band management to be used on a single port.

It includes support for architecture guidance security, which uses redundant communication paths between PTP nodes to detect tampering. It also implements out-of-band management mechanisms for detecting tampering, degradation, and failures. This timing grandmaster provides complete support for authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) as well as two-factor authentication. As a software update, TimeProvider 4100 Release 2.3 is available for new and already-deployed systems. Other features include:

  • PTP enhancements including increased capacity of up to 1,000 network clients, which is required for certain applications such as data centers.
  • Enhancements to the E1/T1 expansion module with new signals such as composite clock and JCC (Japan CC format), both inputs and outputs, for increased integration with legacy systems.

TimeProvider 4100 Release 2.3 can be managed by Microchip’s TimePictra® Synchronization Management System for full Fault, Configuration, Accounting, Performance, and Security (FCAPS).

For more information, visit Microchip.