To ensure clock synchronization, PTP requires an accurate measurement of the communication path delay between the time source (master
) and the receiver (slave
). PTP sends messages between the master and slave device to determine the delay measurement. Then, PTP measures the exact message transmit and receive times and uses these times to calculate the communication path delay. PTP then adjusts current time information contained in network data for the calculated delay, resulting in more accurate time information.
This delay measurement principle determines path delay between devices on the network, and the local clocks are adjusted for this delay using a series of messages sent between masters and slaves. The one-way delay time is calculated by averaging the path delay of the transmit and receive messages. This calculation assumes a symmetrical communication path; however, switched networks do not necessarily have symmetrical communication paths, due to the buffering process.
PTP provides a method, using transparent clocks, to measure and account for the delay in a time-interval field in network timing packets, making the switches temporarily transparent to the master and slave nodes on the network. An end-to-end transparent clock forwards all messages on the network in the same way that a switch does.
Cisco PTP supports multicast PTP messages only.
To read a detailed description of synchronization messages, refer to PTP Event Message Sequences. To learn more about how transparent clocks calculate network delays, refer to Transparent Clock.
The following figure shows a typical 1588 PTP network that includes grandmaster clocks, switches in boundary clock mode, and Intelligent Electronic Device (IEDs) such as a digital relays or protection devices. In this diagram, Master 1 is the grandmaster clock. If Master 1 becomes unavailable, the boundary clock slaves switch to Master 2 for synchronization.
Figure 1. PTP Network