Towards a Network Aware Model of the Time Uncertainty Bound in Precision Time Protocol.

INFOCOM Workshops(2023)

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Abstract
Synchronizing the system time between devices by exchanging timestamped messages over the network is a popular method to achieve time-consistency in distributed applications. Accurate time synchronization is essential in applications such as cellular communication, industrial control, and transactional databases. These applications consider the maximum possible time offset or the Time Uncertainty Bound (TUB) in the network while configuring their guard bands and waiting times. Choosing the right value for the TUB poses a fundamental challenge to the system designer - a conservatively high value of the TUB decreases the chances of time-based byzantine faults but increases latency due to larger guard bands and waiting times. The TUB is affected by packet delay variation (PDV) of time synchronization messages due to congestion from background network traffic. In this work, we use Network Calculus (NC) to derive the relation between network traffic and the TUB for a network built with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. For centrally deployed and monitored local area networks (LAN)s such as in cellular networks and datacenters this relation could be useful for system designers to plug a better-informed value of the TUB.
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Key words
background network traffic,cellular networks,commercial off-the-shelf hardware,COTS hardware,datacenters,distributed applications,guard bands,local area networks,network aware model,Network Calculus,packet delay variation,PDV,precision time protocol,system designer,system time,time synchronization messages,time uncertainty bound,time-based Byzantine faults,time-consistency,TUB,waiting times
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