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Exablaze High Precision Timing

"NOW in picoseconds"

Exablaze has released the world's first Network Interface Card (NIC) which can timestamp Ethernet packets to a resolution of 250 picoseconds.

Why is High Precision Timing Critical?

Performance of the market-leading low-latency NICs and switches has moved ahead of current time-keeping technology. While Ethernet Layer-2 switching latency has been achieved at under 100 nanoseconds, until now users couldn't measure or verify these levels, and buyers of low-latency networking hardware couldn’t measure performance accurately, without highly specialized equipment

With the ExaNIC X10-HPT, users can generate latency histograms with much finer accuracy than ever before. Exablaze’s new High Precision Timing technology has improved the accuracy of measuring the time between events by more than an order of magnitude over existing technologies: from single digit nanoseconds to 250 picoseconds. That's the time it takes for a light signal to travel 5 centimetres (2 inches) through an optical fibre.

The ExaNIC X10-HPT allows Exablaze to measure and verify the performance statistics of our own range of products, and allows customers to verify the performance of all the devices in their critical network infrastructure.

Where is High Precision Timing Critical?

The key areas range from High Frequency Trading (HFT) and High Performance Computing (HPC) to enterprise security, large data centres, telcos and defence operations. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now demanding more accurate time stamping from High Frequency Traders, and asking them 'what happened in that millionth of a second or another'(Kris Peterson, CTO of AlgoSpan). The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is about to introduce its stringent new MiFID II regulations that specify synchronization of high-frequency trading systems to within 100µs of UTC with 1-µs precision granularity

Precision time stamps are essential for data centres processing data for many clients, in case of events that require forensic analysis. Precision time stamps are also crucial for vendors and users of HPC systems, for accurate performance analysis across the vast array of networked components. Precise time stamps are also mandatory for in-depth audits of critical security events, where log file accuracy and time-synchronization accuracy across systems are essential for forensic investigation.

Synchronizing Time Across the World

Correlating events or resolving data conflicts in today's networks has become a huge challenge, given their complexity and the physical distances involved. The GPS time server has long offered a reliable way to synchronize networks, in conjunction with precision timing data from GPS satellites. Exablaze can now synchronize absolute time via GPS, provide nanosecond resolution time stamping, and produce event-based differential timing with 250 picosecond resolution.

Exablaze already makes low-latency NIC cards that also serve as Precision Time Protocol (PTP) Grandmasters. Onboard GNSS receivers (GPS & GLONASS) ensure tight synchronization of the onboard oscillator to UTC time from anywhere on the globe. During holdover (when GPS time is lost temporarily), an onboard OCXO oscillator or an optional CSAC atomic clock serves as a time reference for the iPTP network.

The breakthrough we've achieved with our new HPT technology means that high precision timing and Ultra Low Latency performance can now work hand in hand.