NI Announces Industry’s First IEEE 1588 PCI Interface for Distributed Synchronization | Automation.com

NI Announces Industry’s First IEEE 1588 PCI Interface for Distributed Synchronization

September 272005
NI Announces Industry’s First IEEE 1588 PCI Interface for Distributed Synchronization
NEWS RELEASE – Sept. 27, 2005 – Engineers now can use the new National Instruments PCI-1588 interface to synchronize clocks and events on multiple distributed devices with submicrosecond precision using the IEEE 1588 precision time protocol (PTP). The new interface is ideal for developing synchronized data acquisition systems as well as synchronizing IEEE 1588-capable industrial control and test and measurement devices, including future Class A and B LXI devices. The NI PCI-1588 interface is part of the NI family of synchronization technologies that includes subnanosecond PXI backplane synchronization, multichassis timing interfaces and standardized software libraries.

The NI PCI-1588 interface synchronizes other IEEE 1588-capable devices through a built-in Ethernet port. It also offers three general-purpose I/O pins and a RTSI bus connection for synchronization with traditional instruments or PLCs and other PCI plug-in devices, respectively. For example, engineers can use the new interface to create a geographically distributed data acquisition system with Ethernet while synchronizing clocks and timestamps to within 200 ns. The interface uses NI-SYNC driver software, which offers a common software interface for different synchronization techniques including IEEE 1588, PXI backplane and PXI multichassis synchronization.

Engineers can use the interface’s PTP timestamps to correlate events distributed across an Ethernet network with greater precision and accuracy than available with previous industry standards. The interface uses RJ-45 Ethernet cabling and can operate as either a master or slave clock module. With an onboard FPGA, engineers can adjust the frequency and phase of an onboard IEEE 1588 system timer for time-stamping Ethernet packets. For instance, adjusting the clock frequency to match other clock frequencies improves skew and adjusting the phase improves local PLL clocks and triggers.

The new interface works with all NI application software including the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment using the NI-SYNC driver. It is also capable of synchronizing to RTSI-capable NI PCI boards, such as NI data acquisition and modular instrumentation.

The IEEE 1588 PTP, approved in 2002, provides a standard method to synchronize devices on a network with submicrosecond precision. The protocol synchronizes local clocks to a master clock ensuring that triggers, events and timestamps in all devices use the same time base. IEEE 1588 is optimized for well-defined distributed systems, minimal use of network bandwidth and low processing overhead. The standard has gained acceptance in the industrial automation market and is now expanding into the test and measurement and communications markets.

About National Instruments
National Instruments is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists in industry, government and academia approach measurement and automation. Leveraging PCs and commercial technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for test, control and design applications through easy-to-integrate software, such as NI LabVIEW, and modular measurement and control hardware for PXI, PCI, USB and Ethernet. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,600 employees and direct operations in nearly 40 countries. In 2004, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past six years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

For more information, Contact National Instruments or visit their web site at www.ni.com.
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