TICTOC                                                         Tim Frost
INTERNET-DRAFT                                                 Greg Dowd
Intended Status: Informational                               Symmetricom

                                                        Karen O'Donoghue
                                                                 US Navy

Expires: 03 May 2009                                         03 Nov 2008

    Architecture for the Transmission of Timing over Packet Networks

Status of this Memo

By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware have
been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes aware will
be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task
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The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on May 03, 2009.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2008)


This Internet draft proposes an architecture for the transmission of
timing over packet networks.  It identifies the major functional
components, and maps the current solutions onto this framework.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction                                                        3
   1.1. TICTOC Layers                                                  3
   1.2. Generic TICTOC Client                                          4
   1.3. TICTOC Functional Modules                                      5
2. Frequency Layer                                                     7
   2.1. Local Oscillator and Frequency Synthesizers                    7
   2.2. Frequency Distribution Protocols                               8
   2.3. Frequency Acquisition Algorithms                               8
      2.3.1. Packet Selection and Discard Algorithms                   9
      2.3.2. Filtering and Control Servos                              9
      2.3.3. Server Contribution                                      10
      2.3.4. Reference Algorithm                                      10
   2.4. Frequency Presentation                                        10
3. Time Layer                                                         11
   3.1. Time Distribution Protocols                                   11
   3.2. Ranging                                                       13
   3.3. Time Presentation                                             13
4. Generic Modules                                                    15
   4.1. Security Mechanisms                                           15
   4.2. Autodiscovery and Master Clock Selection                      15
   4.3. Redundancy and Fail-Over Mechanisms                           17
   4.4. OAM, SSM, and Performance Monitoring                          17
   4.5. Network Management                                            17
   4.6. Application profiles                                          17
5. Network Support                                                    18
   5.1. Path Selection                                                18
   5.2. Network and Traffic Engineering                               18
   5.3. Service Level Specifications and QoS settings                 19
   5.4. Routing considerations                                        19
   5.5. On-path Support                                               20
6. Security Considerations                                            20
7. IANA Considerations                                                20
8. Acknowledgements                                                   20
INFORMATIVE REFERENCES                                                21
AUTHORS' ADDRESSES                                                    21

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

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1.         Introduction

In this document the term "timing" will be used to refer to recovery of
frequency and/or time (wall-clock).

There is an emerging need to distribute highly accurate time and
frequency information over IP and over MPLS packet switched networks
(PSNs).  A variety of applications require time and/or frequency
information to a precision which existing protocols cannot supply.

Several other groups are working on related issues. For example, the NTP
Working Group in IETF is working on an upgrade of the long-standing
Network Time Protocol [RFC1305]. The IEEE has recently revised its
Precision Time Protocol (PTP) [IEEE1588]. The ITU-T has defined
Synchronous Ethernet, a physical layer technology for transfer of
frequency across native Ethernet [G.8261, G.8262].

However, none of these efforts are sufficient by themselves to create a
complete and robust time and frequency transfer ecosystem in the IP and
MPLS network environment.  The TICTOC (Timing over IP Connections and
Transmission of Clock) Working Group was created to develop solutions
that meet the needs of the various applications for timing over packet

This draft attempts to define an architecture for a TICTOC system,
identifying the various functional components, and considering the
support required from the network in order to assist the timing

   1.1.              TICTOC Layers

   The most general TICTOC system can be logically decomposed into two
   layers, corresponding to the distribution of frequency and time,
   respectively, carried over the network by a timing protocol as shown
   in Figure 1.  Examples of such timing protocols include Network Time
   Protocol (NTP) [RFC1305] and Precision Time Protocol (PTP)

   Specific TICTOC systems may consist of either or both layers.  For
   example, if time is not required for the application, then only the
   frequency layer may be present.

   In some cases there may be additional support from the network to
   assist the timing distribution.  For example, it may be possible to
   use a physical layer technology such as Synchronous Ethernet to
   distribute an accurate frequency.  In this case, the timing protocol
   is only required to distribute time.  Other examples of network
   support may include specific QoS settings for the timing protocol
   flow, and routing constraints to ensure an optimum path.

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   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | Time distribution |                  | Time distribution |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | Frequency distr.  |                  | Frequency distr.  |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | Timing protocol   |                  | Timing Protocol   |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | UDP               |                  | UDP               |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | IP                |                  | IP                |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | Layer 2           |                  | Layer 2           |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
   | Layer 1           |                  | Layer 1           |
   |-------------------|                  |-------------------|
            |              ----------               |
            |             /           \             |
             -------------|  Network  |-------------
                          \           /

                  Figure 1.  TICTOC Layers

   1.2.             Generic TICTOC Client

   Figure 2 shows a generic TICTOC client, consisting of separate
   frequency and time acquisition modules, and the presentation modules
   for each.

         +------+-------+           +--------------+
         | Frequency    |           | Frequency    |
         | Acquisition  +----->-----+ Presentation +----->-----
         |              |           |              |
         +------+-------+           +--------------+
         +------+-------+           +--------------+
         | Time         |           | Time         |
         | Acquisition  +----->-----+ Presentation +----->-----
         |              |           |              |
         +--------------+           +--------------+

                Figure 2.  Generic TICTOC client

   The frequency acquisition module is responsible for recovery of
   frequency information distributed over a packet switched network

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   (PSN), such as IP or MPLS.  This distribution is accomplished by use
   of a frequency distribution protocol.  The frequency distributed may
   be derived from an international standard, or may be an arbitrary
   frequency needed at some remote location.  If the value of the
   frequency itself is needed, then the output of this module is input
   to the frequency presentation module that formats the frequency
   according to application needs.  Note that this format may be numeric
   prepared for display, or may take analog form and be used for locking
   or disciplining other analog frequencies.  When time is needed, the
   frequency information is sent to the time acquisition module.

   Even if the frequency itself is not needed, time acquisition almost
   always requires a stable frequency reference.  This reference may be
   acquired from the frequency acquisition layer, or may be obtained via
   some other means, such as an accurate local frequency reference, or
   from a non-PSN mechanism for frequency distribution (e.g., GPS,

   From the acquired or otherwise available frequency, we may derive
   arbitrary time (also known as "phase") by mathematical means.  If the
   frequency reference is traceable to an international standard, then
   arbitrary time means a sequence of time values that are synchronous
   with true (wall-clock, UTC) time, but with an arbitrary offset.  The
   purpose of the time acquisition module is to enable multiple TICTOC
   clients to share a single offset, and thus to agree as to marking of
   phase values.  Such marked phases values are all that is required for
   certain applications, such as where multiple time-aware agents need
   to interact (e.g., systems employing Time Division Multiple Access

   When the time markings distributed by the time distribution protocol
   are traceable to an international standard, the TICTOC clients are
   said to have acquired wall-clock time.  These wall-clock values are
   formatted for use by the intended application by the time
   presentation module.

   1.3.              TICTOC Functional Modules

   The remainder of this document further subdivides these modules and
   identifies the sub-modules needed for timing distribution.  Sub-
   modules may require one or more protocols, a set of processing
   algorithms, and implementations.
   The frequency acquisition module may be subdivided into the following
   sub-modules.  Not all need to be present in all implementations.
      o  local oscillator
      o  frequency generator (typically a digital synthesizer)
      o  timestamp generator
         (not required if packets are sent at constant rate)
      o  frequency distribution protocol
      o  frequency acquisition algorithms

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         (may include packet selection algorithms, oscillator
          disciplining and frequency adjustment techniques)

   The time acquisition module may be subdivided into the following
   additional sub-modules.  Not all need to be present in all
      o  time distribution protocol
      o  ranging algorithms
      o  clock adjustment techniques
      o  timestamp generation (already mentioned)

   In addition, various generic modules may be needed, for either
   frequency distribution, time distribution, or both.
      o  security
      o  autodiscovery and master clock selection
      o  redundancy and fail-over mechanisms
      o  OAM, synchronization status messaging, and performance
      o  network management
      o  application profiles

   Any timing protocols should operate over the general internet without
   requiring specific support from the network.  However, when operated
   over a specific, managed network where support is available, the
   accuracy of the time and frequency distribution will be enhanced.
   Examples of network support include:
      o  path selection and/or self-organization
      o  network and traffic engineering for optimum transport of timing
      o  service level specifications and QoS settings
      o  routing considerations
      o  on-path support, e.g. PTP boundary or transparent clocks

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2.         Frequency Layer

There are applications that require an accurate frequency reference, but
do not require knowledge of absolute time.  In addition, it is often
wise to acquire frequency for applications that require absolute time
but do not directly use frequency.

TICTOC is concerned with the network frequency transfer using packet
technology.  Frequency may be transferred across a network using the
physical layer, such as through the use of a synchronous network
interface (for example Synchronous Ethernet [G.8262]).  The use of the
physical layer may produce a higher quality frequency reference than
achievable using packet based network frequency transfer, but is outside
the scope of this document.

   2.1.              Local Oscillator and Frequency Synthesizers

   TICTOC masters and clients both need local sources of frequency.  For
   masters, this may be provided by high quality Cesium clock with
   extremely good long term accuracy, or by an atomic clock with
   somewhat lower accuracy, but which is disciplined by comparison with
   a better clock (e.g., by GPS).

   Note that a pure frequency master that does not need to know time can
   be standalone.

   For clients, the local oscillator is usually a quartz crystal
   oscillators.  Such oscillators may be stable, special cut crystals
   with double oven and temperature compensation, or lowly inexpensive
   crystals.  In either case the frequency derived from these
   oscillators needs to be adjusted by the TICTOC frequency acquisition
   module.  This adjustment can be electronic (e.g. changing the control
   voltage of a voltage controlled oscillator).

   However, it is common practice not to directly adjust the physical
   oscillator, or even to directly use the oscillator's frequency.
   Instead, a digital synthesizer fed by the oscillator provides the
   required output frequency.  Changing parameters of the digital
   synthesizer changes the output frequency in the required way.  It is
   important for the digital synthesizer not to introduce too much
   jitter, and for the changing of parameters to be done in such fashion
   as to minimize transients.

   Disciplining of the local oscillator, or setting the parameters of
   the digital synthesizer, is based on the arrival times of received
   frequency distribution protocol packets, and the information
   contained in them.  When, for whatever reason, frequency distribution
   packets are not received, the frequency layer is said to be in
   "holdover mode".  In holdover mode the local oscillator or
   synthesizer is still used as usual, but it is no longer disciplined

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   based on new information from the distribution protocol (although it
   may still be adapted, if the acquisition module has models that have
   been trained during periods that the frequency distribution packets
   were received).

   2.2.              Frequency Distribution Protocols

   The protocol used to distribute frequency across the packet network
   may be the same protocol used for time distribution, or may be an
   independent protocol.  The important design consideration is that the
   protocol used is optimized for that purpose, and not compromised by
   the need to fulfill a dual role.

   Frequency distribution protocols are "one way", i.e. only require
   information transfer from the master (where the frequency is known)
   to the client.  In particular, frequency distribution protocols can
   be broadcast or multicast to many clients, without the master needing
   to know the client identities.  Frequency distribution protocols may
   even operate when there is no return path available.  Exceptions to
   this rule are control messages sent by the client requesting
   commencing or termination of the frequency distribution service, or
   changing its parameters (e.g., update rate).

   Frequency distribution protocols can be broadcast, multicast or
   unicast.  Multicast transmission conserves network bandwidth since
   timing packets may be distributed to multiple clients or slaves.
   However, unicast transmission is often more desirable, since it
   avoids the multicast replication operation in each switch or router,
   which may add variable delay.

   The TICTOC architecture is modular, and not bound to the frequency
   distribution protocol.  It is possible to use different frequency
   distribution methods for different applications and environments,
   e.g. the use of physical layer frequency distribution protocols such
   as Synchronous Ethernet.

   2.3.              Frequency Acquisition Algorithms

   A TICTOC client needs to be able to recover the original timebase (or
   frequency reference) of the master or server.  In general it achieves
   this by comparing the arrival time of packets with the original
   sending time. From this it can determine the relationship between the
   local timebase and the master timebase.

   Observed arrival times of frequency distribution protocol packets are
   influenced by two phenomena:
      o  frequency drift of the local oscillator relative to the master
         oscillator (typically caused by temperature and voltage
         fluctuations, and by aging phenomena)
      o  variation in delay of timing packets through the packet network

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   The former behavior needs to be tracked and compensated, while the
   latter needs to be filtered out.  In order to eliminate the effects
   of PDV, frequency acquisition algorithms perform some sort of
   averaging and/or filtering, in an attempt to recover the frequency at
   which packets were sent.  Typically this involves two steps:
      o  packet selection and discard algorithms
      o  filtering and control servos to "lock onto" the sending

      2.3.1.                   Packet Selection and Discard Algorithms

      In the simplest networks all frequency distribution packets
      received are used by the frequency acquisition algorithms to
      derive corrections to the local oscillator.  A major problem with
      frequency acquisition in complex networks is the elimination of
      frequency distribution packets that, if used by the acquisition
      algorithms, would degrade the quality of the recovered frequency.
      Such packets are variously called outliers, falsetickers, etc.

      There are several reasons for such unreliable packets.  First,
      malfeasants may deliberately inject false packets in order to
      impair the TICTOC client's frequency recovery.  We will discuss
      security mechanisms below.  Second, PDV distributions for complex
      networks can be long tailed, leading to extremely misleading
      results.  Third, various network degradations, e.g., congestion
      and reroute events, can lead to bizarre information being

      Furthermore, even typical packets may have experienced significant
      delay variation, making them less suitable for exploitation than
      the small fraction of packets that may have experienced almost no
      delay (and thus minimal delay variation).  When there is a
      significant fraction of packets that experience essentially no
      delay, it is reasonable to discard all others (assuming that after
      this decimation the sampling rate is still sufficiently high).

      2.3.2.                   Filtering and Control Servos

      Since simple averaging would take too long to sufficiently
      eliminate the stochastic components, by which time the frequency
      difference between local oscillator and master oscillator would
      have changed, more efficient "control loops" are employed.
      Control loops are nonlinear mechanisms, and are thus able to "lock
      onto" frequencies, rather than simply removing stochastic noise.
      Conventional control loops include the Phase Locked Loop (PLLs),
      the Frequency Locked Loops (FLL), and combinations of the two.

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      Delay variation effects can be quite complex and traffic
      dependent. There are obvious effects such as queuing indeterminacy
      leading to stochastic PDV, and congestion leading to packet loss.
      There are also more subtle effects, for example multiple
      plesiochronous flows (e.g.  TDM pseudowires) traversing forwarding
      elements can cause slow "beating" effects, generating low
      frequency wander that is difficult to eliminate.  Another example
      is the batch processing effect introduced by some forwarders in
      which the first of a series of packets experiences greater latency
      that later packets.

      Modern algorithms attempt to model the time behavior of local
      oscillator as compared to the master oscillator, and/or the
      network behavior.  More complex algorithms may attempt blind
      separation of the contribution of the two effects.

      2.3.3.                   Server Contribution

      Traditionally the focus on frequency acquisition algorithm design
      has been on the client.  However it is possible to mitigate some
      of the aforementioned effects by modulating the packet generation
      rate of the master.  Thus TICTOC algorithm modules may describe
      the client and the server components, and may require matching of
      these algorithms to achieve optimal performance.

      2.3.4.                   Reference Algorithm

      Current technologies differ in how much of the algorithm is
      defined.  NTP defines the clock recovery algorithm completely,
      while PTP only defines the on-the-wire protocol, leaving the clock
      recovery algorithms undefined.  Ultimately, multiple algorithms
      may be required to suit different network environments and
      application requirements.

      Next-generation frequency acquisition algorithms need to be
      optimized such that network bandwidth consumed by the frequency
      distribution protocol is minimized.  Furthermore, these algorithms
      are required to be robust to network degradations such as packet
      delay, packet loss, packet delay variation (PDV) and infrequent
      stepwise changes in network traversal latencies (e.g., due to
      reroute events or network loading changes).

      It may be necessary to specify a reference algorithm for
      comparison and validation purposes, but the TICTOC architecture
      will enable vendors to employ proprietary algorithms.  It will
      also be possible to upgrade the reference algorithm in the future.

   2.4.              Frequency Presentation

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   In general, the output of the frequency acquisition module needs to
   be reformatted before use.  In some cases the reference frequency
   distributed across the network is different from the frequency needed
   by the local application; in such cases a digital synthesizer can be
   employed to convert the acquired frequency to the desired one.
   Sometimes it is not frequency itself that is required, but a sequence
   of equally separated times; in such cases the sequence of time
   "ticks" is generated from the acquired frequency (once again, digital
   synthesizer is ideal for this).

3.        Time Layer

In general the time layer is fed accurate frequency from the frequency
layer.  There are applications that require accurate time, but do not
need to acquire frequency over the PSN.  For example:
   o  if the update rate is high and the time resolution required
      is low
   o  if highly accurate frequency is available locally
   o  if frequency is distributed by means external to the PSN
      (e.g. GPS, LORAN, WWV)
   o  if frequency is available by means of the network physical
      layer (e.g.  PoS, SyncE).

In such cases the frequency input in Figure 2 is provided by the
alternative frequency source, rather than the frequency layer.  The
TICTOC two layer decomposition is a conceptual one, and may not be
easily identifiable in all implementations.  For example, when using a
pure PLL frequency acquisition module, true "frequency" is never
derived, only relative phase.  Similarly, tracking mechanisms may
simultaneously model frequency and time, reducing convergence time by
adjusting both simultaneously, rather than first acquiring frequency,
and afterwards time.  However, even in these cases the decomposition is
a useful one.

   3.1.              Time Distribution Protocols

   The purpose of the time distribution protocol is to calibrate a
   sequence of phase events generated by the local oscillator or digital
   synthesizer, thus converting arbitrary offset phase values into wall-
   clock values.  This is done by sending packets containing timestamps
   from the master (where the time is known) to the TICTOC client.  In
   order for the timestamp to accurately indicate the time that the
   packet was actually injected into the network (rather than some
   earlier time when the packet was formed, separated by a stochastic
   time delay from the injection time), the timestamp should be
   generated by the networking hardware.  Providing any checksums or
   CRCs can be updated on-the-fly, this hardware-generated timestamp may
   be directly inserted into the packet.  Alternatively, a subsequent
   packet can be used to carry the measured injection time, as in the

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   PTP follow-up message.  Where hardware assistance to measure the
   injection time accurately is not available, the stochastic delay
   should be minimized.

   The timestamp in the time distribution protocol packet indicates the
   time that the master injected this packet into the network.  On the
   other hand, the client receives this same packet after the
   propagation delay, i.e. the time taken to traverse the packet
   network.  Were this time to be accurately known, the timestamp could
   be corrected, and the precise time known.  Estimation of the
   traversal time is called ranging, and will be discussed below.  PTP
   has an optional mechanism (transparent clocks) whereby forwarding
   delays, and even individual link delays are measured and compensated,
   thus leading to precise knowledge of the traversal delay.  However,
   this mechanism requires upgrading of all intermediate network

   Due to the requirement of traversal delay measurement, time
   distribution protocols are generally bidirectional, that is, they
   require a bidirectional channel, require both master and client to
   send and receive messages, and usually assume symmetric (or known
   asymmetry) propagation times.  Unlike frequency distribution, time
   distribution can not be entirely multicast, due to the ranging

   There are two well-known protocols capable of running over a general-
   purpose packet network, NTP [RFC1305], and PTP [IEEE1588].  NTP is
   the product of the IETF, and is currently undergoing revision to
   version 4.  PTP is a product of the IEEE Test and Measurement
   community, and has recently been revised to better accommodate
   telecommunication applications.  The new version has a profiling
   mechanism enabling organizations to specify required and prohibited
   options, ranges and defaults of attribute values, and optional
   features, while maintaining interoperability.

   The protocol used to transfer the reference frequency across the
   network may be the same protocol that is used to transfer time.  The
   overriding design consideration is that frequency and time
   distribution protocols be optimized for their purpose, and not
   compromised by the need to fulfill a dual role.

   The TICTOC architecture itself is not bound to a specific time
   distribution protocol.  It is possible to upgrade, or replace this
   protocol, for example to improved the quality of the transfer, or to
   optimize the transfer for a different network environment, without
   redesigning the entire TICTOC architecture.

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   3.2.              Ranging

   To transfer time it is necessary to know the time of flight of
   packets from the time server to the client.  The accuracy of time at
   the client can be no better than the accuracy provide by the ranging
   mechanism.  Some ranging mechanisms require or can exploit special
   hardware assistance by intermediate network elements, such as PTP
   transparent clocks [IEEE1588].

   A typical ranging mechanism functions by exchanging timestamps
   between master and client.  For example, the master sends an initial
   timestamped packet.  When this packet arrives at the client its
   arrival time (in terms of the local clock) is recorded.  After some
   amount of time the client sends a response packet back to the master,
   containing the initial timestamp (in terms of the master clock), and
   the packet arrival and retransmission times (in terms of the client
   clock).  When this packet is received by the master a fourth
   timestamp is generated (in terms of the master clock).  Since the
   second and third timestamps are both in terms of the client clock,
   their difference - representing the amount of time the client
   hesitated between receipt of the initial packet and sending the
   response packet - is readily computed.  This difference can be
   subtracted from the difference between the fourth and first
   timestamps, to yield the sum of propagation times.  Under the
   assumption of symmetry, the one-way time is half this sum.  Note that
   since the difference between third and fourth timestamps is short,
   possible frequency inaccuracy of the client has little deleterious

   Various variations on this basic four-timestamp method are possible.
   In the three timestamp method the client sends the time difference
   (e.g., generated by resetting a timer upon packet arrival) rather
   than the two timestamps.  When symmetry is not a valid assumption,
   additional information (e.g., ratio or difference between expected
   propagation delays) can be used to extract the one-way delay.

   Ranging accuracy is reduced by deviation from expected asymmetry in
   the network.  Mechanisms to avoid asymmetry at the network layer are
   useful (for example using MPLS RSVP-TE paths, or the use of the peer-
   to-peer mechanism described in IEEE1588), as is the ability to
   correct asymmetry in the physical connection through the use of
   external calibration.

   3.3.              Time Presentation

   In general, the output of the time acquisition module needs to be
   reformatted before use.  Formatting includes translation between
   different representations (e.g., from seconds after a given date to
   date and time), changing time zones, etc.  When the time needs to be

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   displayed, e.g., on a computer or mobile device, further processing
   is often required, such as identification of day of week, translation
   to other calendars (e.g., Hebrew, Islamic, Chinese), conversion
   between TAI and UTC, and flagging of holidays and special dates.

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4.         Generic Modules

   4.1.              Security Mechanisms

   Time and frequency services are a significant element of network
   infrastructure, and are critical for certain emerging applications.
   Hence time and frequency transfer services MUST be protected from
   being compromised.  The most significant threats are false timing
   servers distributing purposely misleading timing packets, and man in
   the middle tampering with valid timing packets.  Both threats would
   enable a malfeasant to mislead TICTOC clients, and to bring down
   critical services.

   Based on the aforementioned threats, one can conclude that
   confidentiality and replay protection are usually not needed (and in
   many cases not possible), but source authentication and integrity
   protection are vital.  In general, it is the master that needs to be
   authenticated to the server, although in certain cases it may be
   needed to authenticate the client to the master.

   Applying IPsec Authentication Header (AH) mechanisms to all timing
   packets is not feasible, due to the computational resources consumed
   by public key cryptography algorithms.  Adoption of IPsec would
   impact time acquisition accuracy, and would lead to new methods for
   malfeasants to disrupt the timing distribution protocols by
   exhausting resources and denial of service from TICTOC clients.
   Furthermore, certificates used to authenticate packets have lifetimes
   that must be enforced for secure use.  Certification of time packets
   themselves can thus lead to circular dependence and to attacks that
   invalidate valid time packets and substitute invalid ones.  NTP
   implementations provided an authentication protocol called Autokey.
   Autokey utilizes public key algorithms to encrypt cookies, symmetric
   key message digests for integrity, and digital signatures for source

   Any security mechanism must be designed in such a way that it does
   not degrade the quality of the time transfer.  Such a mechanism
   SHOULD also be relatively lightweight, as client restrictions often
   dictate a low processing and memory footprint, and because the server
   may have extensive fan-out.  The mechanism also SHOULD not require
   excessive storage of client state in the master, nor significantly
   increase bandwidth consumption.

   4.2.              Autodiscovery and Master Clock Selection

   The topology of presently deployed synchronization networks is
   universally manually configured.  This requires manual or management-
   plane configuration of master-client relationships, as well as
   preconfigured fallback behaviors.  This strategy is workable for SDH
   networks, where there are a relatively small number of network

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   elements that require such configuration, and all elements are
   controlled by a single entity.  In packet switched network scenarios
   there may be a very large number of independent network elements
   requiring timing, making automatic mechanisms important.  Such
   autodiscovery, automatic master selection algorithms, and perhaps
   control plane protocols to support these features, are important
   features of the TICTOC architecture.

   There are application scenarios where it is desirable for clocks to
   advertise their service, and for clients to automatically select a
   clock with the required accuracy and path characteristics.  The
   optimum advertising method may depend on the environment and the
   application.  For example a host may be best served by finding a
   suitable clock (or set of clocks) through a DHCP parameter, whist a
   provider edge may find it more convenient to discover the available
   clock through BGP.

   Once a TICTOC client has discovered potential TICTOC masters, it must
   choose how to derive its clock from one or more of them.  This choice
   can be aided using two types of information:
      o  claims made by the potential masters as to the accuracy of its
         local clock (see OAM and SSM below)
      o  analysis of the stability of frequency recovered from the
         potential masters.

   One tactic that a TICTOC client may employ is to individually choose
   which master to use based on this information.  Even if statically
   configured to use a particular master, a client may be allowed to
   make independent decisions when the master becomes unavailable or
   sends synchronization status messages indicating a fault condition.

   A second tactic is not to make a hard decision at all, but rather to
   perform weighted ensemble averaging of frequencies recovered from all
   available masters.  The weightings, once again, may be based on
   claims made by the masters or by monitoring of frequency stability.

   Using either tactic, it is important to ensure that "timing loops"
   are not formed.  A timing loop is an erroneous topology that causes
   locking onto frequencies not traceable to a high quality source.
   Loops are avoided by ensuring that the frequency distribution paths
   form a tree.

   Yet another method is not to decide on a timing distribution tree at
   all, but rather to enable self-organization of independently acting
   intelligent agents.  In such cases the meaning of master and client
   becomes blurred, as all agents exchange timing information with a
   subset neighbors that have been discovered.  This method may be
   driven by timing acquisition algorithms that guarantee global
   convergence of the timing agents, meaning that over time the average

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   timing error decreases, although a given agent's error may sometimes

   4.3.             Redundancy and Fail-Over Mechanisms

   Since synchronization is a critical function in many network
   applications, operators conventionally protect it from single points
   of failure.  Redundant sources of synchronization are normally
   provisioned, connected via diverse paths to prevent loss of
   synchronization at the end station.

   This is also required in packet synchronization.  It may be necessary
   to provision alternative paths, or techniques such as fast re-route
   to ensure that connection between a time server and client devices is
   not lost for too long.

   4.4.             OAM, SSM, and Performance Monitoring

   In order to ensure continuity and connectivity of the path from the
   master to the client, and the reverse path when needed, an
   Operations, Administration, and Maintenance protocol may be needed.
   When the master sends timing distribution packets at a constant rate,
   faults are detected by the client after a few interpacket times; when
   the rate is variable, the problem is detected after a few times the
   maximum interpacket interval.  However, in either case the master may
   be unaware of the problem.

   Synchronization Status Messages (SSMs) were traditionally used in TDM
   networks to indicate the accuracy of the source upon which an
   incoming TDM link based its timing, and to notify the remote site of
   clock failures.  Timing distribution protocols generally have similar

   Performance monitoring is important to ensure the proper operation of
   timing systems, and may be integrated into OAM mechanisms.

   4.5.              Network Management

   As for all network infrastructure mechanisms, timing distribution
   systems SHOULD be managed.  This implies provision of management
   agents in TICTOC masters and clients, and definition of the
   appropriate MIBs.

   4.6.              Application profiles

   PTP defines the concept of "profiles", defining the attributes and
   options of the protocol required to support a given application.  The
   concept is extensible to other timing protocols, to ensure
   interoperable components of a timing system.

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   Profiles are developed by standards organizations or other industry
   bodies.  For example, a "Telecom Profile" is currently under
   definition by the ITU-T.  The TICTOC working group will need to
   specify the profile for the particular applications under its remit.

5.        Network Support

   5.1.              Path Selection

   In infrastructure applications it may be possible for TICTOC devices
   to seek co-operation from routing elements to optimize the path
   through the network in order to obtain a better quality of time and
   frequency transfer that is possible when the timing distribution
   protocol operates independent of the network layer.

   At the simplest level this is use of paths that can support the
   required quality of service, and have the lowest congestion impact.
   However it is also possible for the network layer to be a proactive
   partner in the transfer process.  For example paths may be selected
   on the basis of their symmetry, or such that all are capable of
   supporting physical frequency transfer (for example Synchronous
   Ethernet), or nodes may be selected such that they are all capable of
   supporting transparent clock.

   In addition to having to deal with degradation of service due to
   congestion, TICTOC must not add to the problem.  Thus, TICTOC timing
   distribution protocols MUST be able to act in a TCP friendly way,
   even at the expense of minor degradation of performance.  In such
   cases, it may be required for client to be informed of the change in
   operating conditions.

   5.2.             Network and Traffic Engineering

   Every network element (e.g. router or switch) in a packet network
   adds varying amounts of delay to the packet.  This variation is
   typically correlated to the load on that network element at the time,
   and especially to the shared load on the output port.

   Therefore, there is some maximum limit on both the traffic load and
   the number of network elements that a packet timing flow can traverse
   before being degraded beyond the point at which the recovered time or
   frequency is outside of the specification for the given application.

   This maximum limit will change depending on:
      o  stringency of the application requirements
      o  stability and environment of the local oscillator at the
         time/frequency client device
      o  traffic load in the network
      o  topology of the network

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      o  physical layer aspects of the network.

   When planning a time/frequency distribution service over a managed
   network, the network planner must take these considerations into
   account.  These will influence the appropriate locations for the
   time/frequency servers and any on-path support elements that may be

   Traffic engineering may be used to control the traffic load in the
   network on the routes used by the timing flows.  This may help to
   control the delay variation in the timing flow, and hence improve the
   performance of the clock recovered by the client.

   5.3.              Service Level Specifications and QoS settings

   The traditional approach to specifying network performance has been
   to define a series of metrics such as packet loss and packet delay
   variation.  However, these metrics are not good predictors of how a
   packet timing scheme is going to perform.  For instance, the packet
   delay variation metric is too abstract, since it doesn't take into
   account the distribution of delays, or the correlation of delays over
   a longer interval.

   Recent research has examined the application to PDV of new metrics
   borrowed from synchronization standards such as TDEV and a modified
   version called minTDEV [minTDEV].  The goal is to define a metric
   that is both measurable and capable of continuous monitoring.  This
   can then form the basis of a service level specification for a
   network capable of running time/frequency distribution to a given
   performance level.

   Further, the network operator needs to know how to tune the network
   to stay within the specified limit, since no operator is going to
   sign up to a service level specification that he has no control over.
   Appropriate QoS settings and techniques must be deployed to ensure
   the timing packets are forwarded through the routers in the optimum

   5.4.              Routing considerations

   The basic method for calculating a time offset of a remote slave
   connected over a packet network makes an assumption that the network
   delays in each direction are the same.  Any asymmetry between the
   forward and reverse directions yields an error in the time offset

   While there may be various inferences that an algorithm can make
   concerning the size of that asymmetry, there are no currently known
   techniques for directly calculating its magnitude.  Therefore it is
   important that the routing is constrained to make the packet flow

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   take the same path in each direction.  This in itself will not
   guarantee that the time delay is the same in each direction, but it
   should minimize any difference.

   5.5.             On-path Support

   The TICTOC architecture will be commensurate with the public
   Internet, and the timing distribution protocol chosen will be able to
   function over general packet switched networks.

   In some cases on-path support (for example PTP transparent clocks)
   may be needed in order to obtain the required frequency or time
   accuracy.  Such on-path support cannot be expected to be universally
   available over the public Internet, and it is not a goal of the
   TICTOC working group to propose augmentation of basic forwarding
   elements.  However, such on-path support may be provided on service
   provider or enterprise networks, and in such cases TICTOC protocols
   should be able to exploit it.

   In networks with on-path support, it may be that the optimum path for
   time transfer is not congruent with the optimum path for data
   transfer.  By using special-purpose IP addresses, and making routing
   aware of the required path characteristics and address attributes, it
   is possible to construct paths within the network that maintain the
   required time transfer characteristics.

   The TICTOC Working Group will specify the required path
   characteristics and work with the ISIS and OSPF Working Groups to
   specify the necessary routing extensions to support these

   TICTOC traffic may need to traverse NATs and firewalls.

6.         Security Considerations

Security aspects of TICTOC have been addressed above.

7.         IANA Considerations

No IANA actions are required as a result of the publication of this

8.         Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Yaakov Stein and Stewart Bryant for their
contributions in the development of this document, and also Alon Geva,
Gabriel Zigelboim, and Laurent Montini for invaluable comments.

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[IEEE1588] IEEE, "Standard for A Precision Clock Synchronization
           Protocol for Networked Measurement and Control
           Systems", IEEE1588-2008.

[G.8261]   ITU-T, "Timing and Synchronization Aspects in Packet
           Networks", G.8261, April 2008

[G.8262]   ITU-T, "Timing characteristics of synchronous Ethernet
           equipment slave clock (EEC)", G.8262, August 2007

[RFC1305]  Mills, D., "Network Time Protocol (Version 3)
           Specification, Implementation", RFC 1305, March 1992.

[RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
           Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

[minTDEV]  G. Zampetti and L. Cosart, "Definition of minTDEV",
           COM15-C363-E, Contribution to ITU-T Study Group 15,
           Question 13, May 2007


Tim Frost,
Symmetricom Inc.,
Tamerton Road,
Plymouth, PL6 7BQ,
United Kingdom.
Email: tfrost@symmetricom.com

Greg Dowd,
Symmetricom Inc.,
2300 Orchard Parkway,
San Jose,
CA 95112,
Email: gdowd@symmetricom.com

Karen O'Donoghue
US Navy
Code B35, NSWCDD,
17320 Dahlgren Rd.
VA 22448,
Email: karen.odonoghue@navy.mil

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