Over the last few decades, many different timing mechanisms have been used to synchronize the operation of data acquisition and test & measurement devices. However, for synchronizing the operation of distributed systems, using the established Ethernet infrastructure is essential because it offers high flexibility and ease of use at a relatively low cost. Ethernet is the de facto worldwide standard for machine-to-machine or human-to-machine communications. Even mobile devices like smartphones and vehicles can be linked to Ethernet-based networks through mobile telecom networks. The IEEE1588:2008 Precision Time Protocol (PTPv2) was developed to support highly accurate time synchronization in distributed data acquisition and test & measurement applications.
In test & measurement applications, highly accurate time-stamped signal inputs representing the same physical process captured at the same moment play an important role in qualifying and analyzing measurement data in real time or during post-processing mode.