WR-ZEN aka SSK

Introduction

The timing team (TOS) operates a couple of distinct White Rabbit networks. The most important one is a network called production, that is connected to a GSPDO and moreover phase-locked to BuTiS. Other networks serve other purposes as testing, integration systems and local operations. The motivation behind using the WR-ZEN is to lock the grander master clocks of the other White Rabbit networks to the production network. The WR-ZEN is connected to the production network as a White Rabbit slave. It generates PPS and 10 MHz signals. These can be used as input to grand master White Rabbit switches of other White Rabbit networks.

Presented here are some tentative measurements that have been performed in summer 2019. The main motivation of this test is to analyze how well the outputs of a WR-ZEN can 'follow' a White Rabbit switch, that serves as a grand-master clock to which the WR-ZEN is directly connected as a White Rabbit slave.

It is expect that WR-ZENs 10 MHz signals on the 'A' and 'B' outputs perform better then the 'C' and 'D' outputs used for PPS signals; the 'C' andn 'D' outputs are generated from the FPGA only, while the 'A' and 'B' outpus are derived from a PLL (when using proper settings).

Equipment and Presentation

Equipment
  • White Rabbit Switch 1 (WRS1); it is connected to the production network and produces a PPS reference signal
  • White Rabbit Switch 2 (WRS2); it is used as a grand master of a secondary White Rabbit network; it requires PPS and 10 MHz signals as input
  • White Rabbit Switch 3 (WRS3); it is connected to WRS1
  • WR-ZEN
  • 2 PEXARIA timing receiver (PEXARIA1, PEXARIA2); they produce PPS signals generated by a VDHL based clock generator
  • 1 TR-AMC timing receiver; it produces PPS or 10 MHz clock signals generated by a VDHL based clock generator
  • oscilloscope; 10GS/s sampling rate; 1 GHz analog bandwidth

The WR-ZEN is used to generate 10 MHz and PPS clock signals
  • WR-ZEN TP-32BNC
  • connected to WRS1 via SFP0
  • AB_xPPS mode disabled
  • outputs A and B
    • 10 MHz signal
    • fdelay 5000 ps
  • output C and D
    • PPS signal
    • fdelay 0 ps
    • 1 MOhm termination

All cables have identical length to about 1 cm.

Tables
The meaning of the columns is the following
  1. channel of scope
  2. device @ clock source, output
  3. signal type
  4. average offset value relative to WRS1, PPS out
  5. minimum offset value
  6. maximum offset value
  7. 'worst case window', this is the difference between maximum und minimum offset
  8. standard deviation
  9. number of samples
The values in columns 4,5, 6 and 8 are direct readings from the oscilloscopes display of 'measurement with statistics'.

Setup 1 - Connected to WRS1

clockmaster-wr-zen fig1.jpg
Figure: WRS-ZEN, WRS3, TR-AMC, PEXARIA1 and PEXARIA2 are all directly connected to WRS1 via White Rabbit links. The cables connecting the outputs to the oscilloscope are not shown.

channel device signal offset ave [ns] offset min [ns] offset max [ns] window [ns] sdev [ns] # of samples
1 WRS1, PPS out PPS ref ref ref ref ref ref
2 TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3 PPS 7.842 7.729 7.954 0.225 0.037 612
2 WRS3 @ WRS1, PPS out PPS 0.121 0.029 0.211 0.182 0.031 692
3 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'C1' PPS -7.217 -7.331 -7.078 0.253 0.038 612
4 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'C8' PPS -7.371 -7.507 -7.228 0.279 0.037 612
3 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'D1' PPS -6.906 -7.036 -6.795 0.241 0.036 602
4 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'D8' PPS -6.901 -6.997 -6.766 0.231 0.036 602
3 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'A1' 10 MHz 7.888 7.653 8.048 0.395 0.046 602
4 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'A8' 10 MHz 7.920 7.683 8.088 0.405 0.047 602
3 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'B1' 10 MHz 7.202 7.006 7.344 0.338 0.048 692
4 WR-ZEN @ WRS1, BNC 'B8' 10 MHz 7.256 7.051 7.400 0.349 0.049 692
2 TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT1 PPS 7.870 7.748 7.973 0.225 0.038 605
2 TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT2 10 MHz 57.878 57.769 57.976 0.207 0.027 602
3 PEXARIA1 @ WRS1 PPS 11.226 11.098 11.326 0.228 0.039 605
4 PEXARIA2 @ WRS1 PPS 11.305 11.190 11.420 0.230 0.039 605
Table: Measured values. See text above for explanation. The values 'TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3' are measured to check reproducibility.

Discussion
Only the measured values 'windows' and 'sdev' are discussed. The average offset is not of interest here.

Compared to the other devices, the measured values of WRS3 are the best ones.

The measured values 'windows' and 'sdev' of the timing receivers are slightly worse than the ones from WRS3. However, the values tend to be better if timing receivers are compared to each other and not to WRS1 (see also this publication).

The measured values of the WR-ZEN (low precision outputs) C1..D8 are in the same order of magnitude as for the timing receivers. The measured values of the WR-ZEN (high precision outputs) A1..B8 are slightly worse compared to the low precision outputs; this is funny.

Setup 2 - Connected to WRS2 Using WR-ZEN as Clock Source

clockmaster-wr-zen fig2.jpg
Figure: WRS2 is set-up as a grand master. The PPS and 10 MHz refclock signals from WR-ZEN are used (C1-PPS, A1-10MHz) as inputs.

channel device signal offset ave [ns] offset min [ns] offset max [ns] window [ns] sdev [ns] # of samples
1 WRS1, PPS out PPS ref ref ref ref ref ref
2 TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3 PPS 7.910 7.799 8.014 0.215 0.038 602
3 WRS2 @ WR-ZEN, PPS out PPS 35.169 35.058 35.270 0.212 0.040 602
3 PEXARIA1 @ WRS2 PPS 49.263 49.002 49.502 0.500 0.079 832
4 PEXARIA2 @ WRS2 PPS 49.448 49.232 49.702 0.470 0.079 832
Table: Measured values. See text above for explanation. The values 'TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3' are remeasured to check reproducibility.

Discussion
Compared to the case of WRS3 (that has a White Rabbit link to WRS1), the values 'window' and 'sdev' of WRS2 are slightly degraded. Compared to the other devices, the values of WRS2 are the best ones.

Compared to the case where the timing receivers are directly connected to WRS1, the values of the PEXARIA timing receivers are degraded by about a factor of 2. The 'worst case' value is still better than one nanosecond.

Setup 3 - Connected to WRS2 Using TR-AMC as Clock Source

Remark: This measurement was done just for curiosity. Instead of a WR-ZEN, a standard TR-AMC timing receiver is used to produce the PPS and 10 MHZ refclock signals.

clockmaster-wr-zen fig3.jpg
Figure: WRS2 is set-up as a grand master. The PPS and 10 MHz refclock signals from TR-AMC are used (OUT1-PPS, OUT2-10MHz) as input.

channel device signal offset ave [ns] offset min [ns] offset max [ns] window [ns] sdev [ns] # of samples
1 WRS1, PPS out PPS ref ref ref ref ref ref
2 TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3 PPS 7.914 7.795 8.031 0.236 0.037 601
3 WRS2 @ TR-AMC, PPS out PPS 85.496 85.339 85.643 0.304 0.055 627
3 PEXARIA1 @ WRS2 PPS 99.591 99.338 99.899 0.561 0.096 601
4 PEXARIA2 @ WRS2 PPS 99.753 99.507 100.040 0.533 0.095 601
Table: Measured values. See text above for explanation. The values 'TR-AMC @ WRS1, OUT3' are remeasured to check reproducibility

Discussion
Compared to the case where WR-ZEN has been used as a clock source, the values are in the same order of magnitude and only slightly degraded. The 'worst case' value of the PEXARIAs is still better than one nanosecond.

Conclusion

The idea is to derive 10 MHz and PPS clocks from a 'reference' White Rabbit network and to use these as reference clocks for White Rabbit switches in Grand Master mode. By this, distinct White Rabbit networks can be locked to each other AND they are completely isolated in terms of Ethernet.

Two possibilities have been evaluated. First using a WR-ZEN from 7Sols, second a TR-AMC timing receiver.

When measuring PPS signals of connected nodes relative to a PPS signal of rhe 'reference' network, the numbers investigated have been standard deviation and 'worst case window'. As a result, these numbers degenerate by about a factor of two. When comparing WR-ZEN and TR-AMC, the results obtained with the TR-AMC are slightly worse.

As a handwaving consistency check, one can quadratically add the values of 'window' or 'sdev'.
device sdev [ps] window [ps]
PEXARIA @ WRS1 39 228
WRS2 (*) 31 182
WR-ZEN @ WRS1, A1 46 395
calc quad sum 68 491
PEXARIA1 @ WRS2 79 500
Table: Consistency check by adding values quadratically. It is assumed that WRS2 has the same properties as WRS3 (*).
As shown in the table above, the values look reasonable. Turning this argument around, one can calculate how 'bad' the WR-ZEN is in terms of additional White Rabbit switch layers. If looking at the 'worst case window' one obtains 395^2 / 182^2 = 4.7. Thus, introducing the WR-ZEN degenerates the timing performance similar to introducing a couple of layers of White Rabbit switches.

The variation in the average (mean) offset values are interesting, especially when comparing the TR-AMC and PEXARIA timing receivers to each other (values change also for different FPGA images). However this shall be subject to a later investigation.

Long term stability has not been investigated.

-- DietrichBeck - 13 Sep 2019
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
clockmaster-wr-zen_fig1.jpgjpg clockmaster-wr-zen_fig1.jpg manage 62 K 13 Sep 2019 - 15:35 DietrichBeck equipment connect to a WR switch
clockmaster-wr-zen_fig2.jpgjpg clockmaster-wr-zen_fig2.jpg manage 65 K 13 Sep 2019 - 15:50 DietrichBeck using WR-ZEN to set-up a 2nd grand master
clockmaster-wr-zen_fig3.jpgjpg clockmaster-wr-zen_fig3.jpg manage 63 K 13 Sep 2019 - 15:51 DietrichBeck using TR-AMC instead of WR-ZEN
Topic revision: r8 - 20 Sep 2019, DietrichBeck
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