Follow the White Rabbit...
But First, What Do You Know about the White Rabbit Project?
(Word of advice, it is not a reference to the Netflix TV show)
Aside from being a reference to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit Project is the result of a European collaboration that includes CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. Its objective is to develop a fully deterministic Ethernet-based network for general purpose data transfer and sub-nanosecond accuracy time transfer.
The White Rabbit Project focuses on:
- Sub-nanosecond accuracy
- Predictability and Reliability
- Open Source Hardware and Software
White Rabbit uses the Precision Time Protocol (Precision Time Protocol is a protocol used to synchronize clocks throughout a computer network. On a LAN network, PTP can enable the clocks on each server to be synchronized within a sub-microsecond range, thus making it suitable for demanding applications that require precise timing and control. PTP is standardized within IEEE-1588v2.) to achieve sub-nanosecond accuracy. A two-way exchange of the Precision Time Protocol synchronization messages allows precise adjustment of clock phase and offset. The link delay is precisely calculated via accurate hardware timestamps and the calculation of delay asymmetry.
Several companies have begun to develop White Rabbit for commercial applications with their own White Rabbit hardware and software.
Seven Solutions was the first company to offer White Rabbit for commercial and defense applications. They are the original designers of the “White rabbit switch,” which was financed by the government of Spain and CERN. Within a larger scope, Seven Solutions has developed a full ecosystem of products and solutions based on its own White Rabbit hardware and software devices — the widely-known ZEN family, which was developed to achieve best-in class timing solutions for the most demanding customers and markets.
The main purpose of the White Rabbit Project — to bring a revolutionary innovation for timing solutions — is an ideal fit with Orolia strategy of providing accurate and reliable Global navigation satellite system (GNSS): A general term describing any satellite constellation that provides positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services on a global or regional basis. See also time to critical infrastructure.
How Do Orolia and Seven Solutions Products Work Together?
The diagram below shows a typical timing network within a datacenter environment.
At the top of this diagram is SecureSync, Orolia’s time server, which provides the external time reference to the full network.
The key element of the distribution network is the WR-Z16, which retrieves the time reference from the SecureSync and distributes it all over the network using the White Rabbit protocol to ensure sub-nanosecond synchronization accuracy.
The White Rabbit product ecosystem counts with different nodes to provide multiple interoperability options to interface with the customer’s end equipment. So, from the last White Rabbit node, it’s possible to provide standard timing interfaces such as PTP, NTP, or Network Time Protocol, is a widely used networking protocol that enables computers and devices to synchronize their system clocks with a reference time source. It ensures accurate timekeeping in computer networks by allowing devices to obtain precise time information from NTP servers, which are typically synchronized to highly accurate atomic clocks. NTP is essential for various applications and services that rely on synchronized time, such as network security, authentication, and data logging., 1PPS, or10 MHz as well as an interface with the SecureSync to fulfill the most complex requirements for time transfer and frequency distribution.
In summary, this topology illustrates how Orolia and Seven Solutions’ products can be combined to provide the best-in-class Position, Navigation, and Timing: PNT and map data combine to create the GPS service. (positioning, navigation and timing) solution to critical infrastructure applications, where the Resilient PNT suite is enhanced with the most precise synchronization technology and multisource redundancy to provide the best performance in terms of accuracy and reliability.
Sophie Zangs joined Orolia in 2018 to promote the company's leadership in Resilient PNT to aerospace, defense, and government customers on EMEA territories. She also leads global marketing initiatives for Orolia's Aviation department, the Orolia System and Solutions office (O2S) in Paris as well as Atomic Clock & Oscillators portfolio. Prior to joining Orolia, she specialized in Corporate Marketing for several brokerage companies as Project Manager. She holds a degree in Marketing & Negotiation from ISIFA Business School in Paris.