The number of operations and transactions supported by electronic means is growing along with the development of Internet.
Electronic billing systems, electronic banking, service exchange and shops are just some examples of e-business, where time is critical for the proper functioning of the entire solution. Furthermore, systems operating in the areas of military, medicine or transportation are based on networks and as such they demand control systems that need to be synchronized.
Unfortunately, computer clocks that are in use are not trustworthy enough as time indicators and therefore their synchronization is increasingly relying on public time servers available on the Internet. This shows that a new solution is in demand that will increase the precision of synchronization and improve the level of services available. It would also be able to integrate with existing solutions, e.g. networks or its devices, therefore improving their performance at the same time. The RunRabbit project is intended to result with a solution that will be a response to this challenge.
The RunRabbit project falls into the scope of time synchronization and distribution in computer networks. The overall aim of the project will be to prototype a system (hardware + software) for highly precise and secure uniform time distribution in computer networks, performed via GBit Ethernet. The system will build on a new experimental protocol to be used at the FAIR accelerator facility of CERN, in development of which members of the research team presenting this proposal took active part. The new synchronization standard will be in line with IEEE 1588 but would go beyond in terms of precision, range and scalability. Unlike IEEE 1588, it will be synchronous and enable the precision coming down to sub-nanoseconds.
The new time synchronization systems based on this standard, such as the one resulting from RunRabbit is believed to lead to substantial advancements in many areas of ICT requiring ultra precise event distribution and time synchronization. These include telecommunications, telemedicine, e-commerce, banking, electronic signature, air traffic control systems and others.
The main objective of RunRabbit is to prototype a commercial high precision (sub-nanosecond) timing and event distribution system based on the above described protocol for real-time systems based on synchronous Ethernet and the Precision Time Protocol (PTP) ready for time-critical application across many industries. Despite the fact that theoretical basis of the protocol in question are already known and some experimental work has been carried out, many technological and engineering challenges remain to be addressed in order to introduce a market ready solution based on it, for instance maximizing the range of time distribution and synchronization within a network with no precision loss.
The RunRabbit is to address these challenges, design prototype network hardware, carry out necessary experiments with this prototype hardware to validate and fine-tune theoretical assumptions. Furthermore the resulting technology will have to be integrated with next generation of the time distribution and synchronization equipment and systems, such as time servers and other network hardware and applications, that could later replace the existing solutions currently offered by applicants on the market.
The project will build on the experiences gained during White Rabbit protocol definition at CERN in which the research team presenting this proposal was involved, in cooperation with a Polish engineer Tomasz Włostowski, previously collaborating with the Warsaw University of Technology, currently responsible for WhiteRabbit at CERN (http://www.ohwr.org/projects/white-rabbit).
The partners involved in the RunRabbit project match perfectly. Eltronika is a Polish company that has been committed to R&D work over new innovative technology for time and frequency synchronization for years. IPCLOCK is in turn a leading provider of innovative high-quality IEEE1588v2 clock synchronization over packet solutions for legacy and next-generation clock distribution requirements, based in Israel. Both partners have already successfully participated in R&D projects, both under national and European research programmes.
It should also be mentioned, that the development of the RunRabbit project will be supported by the expertise offered by the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) which is the largest technical university in Poland. Some parts of R&D activities will be subcontracted to the high-class research