Now that the ITU-T has published the v.2 of its clock synchronization standard, the next obvious step is to create a program that can certify IEEE 1588 2008 implementations for vendors building network synchronization products, and the IEEE is doing just that with the launch of its IEEE 1588 Conformity Alliance, an IEEE Conformity Assessment Program.
Initially, the focus of the IEEE 1588 Conformity Alliance will center on mobile backhaul applications.
While U.S. and European wireless operators differ in how they leverage the new standard, having packet-based network synchronization for wireless backhaul takes into account the fact that unlike traditional T1/E1 backhaul methods, IP/Ethernet lacked clock capabilities.
"As a wireless user roams from one cell tower to another, there's an obvious need for synchronization because if you're getting the word hello from one cell tower and another clearly have to be synchronized," said Bob Mandeville, president of Iometrix, and acting chairman of the IEEE 1588 Conformity Alliance in an interview with FierceTelecom. "The problem is neither Ethernet nor MPLS have synchronization inherent to them unlike traditional E1/T1 so the industry has been looking for a way to bring synchronization that's based on a packet-based technology as are Ethernet and MPLS."
But while wireless backhaul is a major focus of the alliance, the emergence of the 1588 standard will also find relevance in the utility industry as they move forward with their smart grid implementations not to mention other vertical manufacturing industries.
Albeit still in its early stages, the IEEE 1588 v2 protocol "is applicable to the utility's smart grid and any number of domains like manufacturing," Mandeville said.
With the ITU-T having completed its work to define a telecom protocol for IEEE 1588 v2, Mandeville said the "question arises is it of interest to develop and offer to the industry a conformance and certification program such that implementations can go through a well defined process to establish that master and slave clocks are certified as compliant."
Although Mandeville said that there are new members signing up almost every day, the founding board members of the IEEE 1588 Conformity Alliance include Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Anue Systems, Brilliant Telecommunications, Calnex Solutions, Huawei Technologies, Iometrix, and Symmetricom. Other founding members include Accedian Networks, Chronos Technology, and Ericsson.
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