IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) Resources

There is way too much support for IEEE-1588 for me to list it all. Basically, IEEE-1588 has become the standard method of precise time synchronization; anything else (e.g. EtherCAT) has extremely limited support.

I am amazed at the sheer number and variety of MCUs and MPUs with IEEE-1588 support, including Freescale's new Kinetis Cortex MCU's, ST's STM32 series, and TI's new AM335x Sitara MPUs (which have IEEE-1588 support on their 1Gb MACs).

So I am going to highlight some interesting products with IEEE-1588 support. I will not be adding very many new devices; there are simply too many.

Ethernet MAC or PHY

These products allow almost any MCU or MPU to have hardware PTP support (of course, the PHY needs an Ethernet MAC).

  • DP63640 -- National Semiconductor's DP63640 10/100Mbps Ethernet PHY with hardware PTP support, 48-pin LQFP package, ~$6
  • SMSC LAN931x -- SMSC's LAN931x Multiport Embedded Ethernet Switches have hardware PTP support, 2 or 3 managed 10/100Mb Ethernet switches, and PHYs. Pricing is available from Nu Horizons here; last time I checked it ranged from ~$7.50 to ~$10.50

Microcontrollers (MCU), Microprocessors (MPU), and Digital Signal Processors (DSP) with hardware support

  • Stellaris MCUs -- Luminary Micro currently has 11 50->100MHz ARM Cortex M3 MCUs with hardware PTP support. Other features include Ethernet MAC and PHY, 64K->96K SRAM, 96K->256K flash, CAN (optional), 100-pin LQFP package, starting at about $10. (Click on the IEEE1588 button on the selector to see the current lineup).
  • STM32 At least four members of ST's STM32 family have hardware IEEE-1588 support. Other specs include 72MHz Cortex M3 core, 10/100Mb Ethernet MAC, up to 64K SRAM, up to 256K flash, 2 CAN, USB OTG, and choice of LQFP64, LQFP100, or BGA100 packages. Announced pricing is $3.28->$4.92 (10,000 units); small volume pricing is around $10.
  • MPC8360E The Freescale PowerPC MPC8360 has hardware timestamping (which improves PTP accuracy to ±40ns). Feature highlights include 266MHz->667MHz PowerPC core, FPU, 500MHz QUICC engine, multiple Gigabit Ethernet links, DDR SDRAM support, PCI interface, 740-ball TBGA package, for a price starting at about $60.
  • QorIQ Most of Freescale's latest QorIQ PowerPC communications processors have hardware support for IEEE-1588, including the P1010, P1011, P1020, P2010, and P2020. Speeds start at 400MHz with multiple Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. They are packaged in large BGA's; pricing starts at $23 in volume.
  • MPC8313E The Freescale MPC8313E has hardware IEEE-1588 support. Highlights include up to 400MHz PowerPC core, FPU, 2 Gigabit MACs, DDR SDRAM support, PCI interface, and a 516 pin BGA package. Pricing starts at about $20 in 100's.
  • Freescale i.MX535 -- Looks like Freescale is adding IEEE-1588 support to their ARM-based i.MX line; the new i.MX535's block diagram shows IEEE-1588 support in its MAC.
  • Imsys -- Imsys has a number of products for IEEE-1588, including the IM3220 Network Processor with IEEE-1588 PTP, boards, and developer kits.
  • Intel x86 SoCs -- Intel's EP80579 x86 MPU does have hardware support for IEEE-1588. The Application Notes have the details.
  • BF518 -- Analog Device's ADSP-BF518 Blackfin DSP has an Ethernet MAC with IEEE-1588 support, 116K RAM, SDRAM, SRAM & Flash support, up to 400MHz clock rate, and comes in a 176-QFP or 168-BGA.
  • Raza XLS -- Some models of Raza Microelectronics' XLS series of MIPS64-based MPUs have IEEE-1588 hardware support. The XLS series range from 500MHz single MIPS64 core (4 threads) MPU with 3 Gigabit Ethernet ports model to a 1.2GHz quad core (16 thread) MPU with 8 Gigabit Ethernet and 2 XAUI ports. Current models with PTP support include the XLS404B, XLS408B, XLS416, XLS608, and XLS616.
  • Hilscher netX -- Hilscher's netX ARM-powered industrial fieldbus MCUs use a programmable communications channel approach similar to Freescale's PowerQUICC. The netX chips have hardware IEEE-1588 support. Other interesting features available include support for CAN and Profibus, EtherCAT and Profinet IRT support, up to 4 programmable communication channels, Ethernet PHYs, Quadrature encoder inputs, ADC, PWM outputs, and full speed USB. Availability is poor (e.g. no US distributor), Ethernet speed is 10/100M bps, no non-BGA packages are available, and pricing ranges from about $10 to $40 in large volumes.


  • Many Freescale PowerQUICC processors have support for IEEE-1588, but Freescale does not do a good job of laying out just which models have this support.

Network Gear

  • Moxa supports IEEE-1588 in many of their switches. I haven't found a nice table listing all the models; try using Google or searching from the Moxa homepage. Some models include:
    • EDS-505A and EDS-508A 5 and 8 port managed Ethernet switches. Pricing is about $800 for the EDS-505A and $1000 for the EDS-508A
    • EDS-608, EDS-611, EDS-616, and EDS-619 modular managed switches. These models are more flexible, capable, and expensive than the EDS-505A/508A.
    • EDS-828 modular managed Ethernet switch.
    • EDS-P510 managed redundant Ethernet switch with 4 10/100BaseT PoE (802.3af) Ethernet ports and 3 Gigabit ports.

IEEE-1588 Intellectual Property

  • MorethanIP has 10/100/1000 Ethernet MACs and 10/100 Ethernet Switch IP with IEEE-1588 support for FPGAs and ASICs.
  • Ixxat has IEEE-1588 software stacks and an IP Core Module for FPGAs.

Open Source Software

  • PTPd The Precision Time Protocol daemon, a software-only PTP stack.

Information on the Standard

Standards that use IEEE 1588

  • Ethernet PowerLink
    • The original PowerLink standard did not use IEEE-1588, but EPSG has stated that support for it will be added, and it appears it has been added to the most recent PowerLink standard.
  • LXI
  • GigE V2.0 Machine Vision standard
  • CIPSync (part of the ODVA's CIP standards) is based on IEEE-1588. (I could not find a good link for CIPSync).

Other uses for IEEE-1588

  • From this blog post by Martin Rowe:
    • Synchronize cellular base stations
    • Synchronize femtocells
    • Electrical substations
    • Replace IRIG-B
    • Precise timestamps for financial systems
Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on Jun 19, 2013 10:15:15 PM