Chicago, London, and Sydney - Metamako, the provider of FPGA-enabled networking platforms, and the Securities Technology Analysis Center have announced a new way to measure timing and time synchronisation.
The new STAC-TS benchmarks for measuring timestamp accuracy, designed by a working group of trading organisations, timing-related vendors, STAC, and Metamako, aim to be the industry standard.
Metamako's MetaWatch application, with a timestamp resolution of 1 nanosecond, is the first product which has been through the STAC-TS benchmarks for network timestamping. The results demonstrated that for one of the device ports, 100% of the timestamps were accurate to 0.5 +/- 2.5 nanoseconds relative to an external atomic reference timing source.
Peter Lankford, Director of STAC, commented: "Vendors have traditionally expected clients to trust their claims of packet-timestamp accuracy. But major trading organisations in the STAC Benchmark Council, who have both business and regulatory needs for accuracy, have been keen to establish vendor-independent benchmark standards. Accurate network timestamps are important for many reportable trading events as well as for time-sync testing of other hardware and software components. Developed in conjunction with trading firms, Metamako and the rest of the STAC-TS Working Group, STAC-TS provides the most accurate and comprehensive benchmarks available and are now ready for use on other products."
The challenge in measuring timestamp accuracy has always been that it is entirely dependent on the accuracy of the measurement device being used. The new benchmarks provide a reference facility for the industry and consist of three stages: (i) the accuracy of a port relative to a reference time source, (ii) the accuracy of ports relative to each other on the same device and, (iii) the accuracy of ports relative to each other across different identical devices.
This application, designed for Metamako's hardware, combines several aspects of network monitoring functionality in a single device. These include tapping, aggregation, deep buffering (up to 32 gigabytes), nanosecond timestamping and time synchronisation. MetaWatch replaces up to 30 passive taps, an aggregation and timestamping switch, along with media converters, patch panels, and all other layer 1 switch use cases.