Not all applications require an ultra-precise timestamp, but for those that do (e.g. cyber forensics), each Accolade FPGA-based SmartNIC can timestamp an individual packet with up to 4ns (nanosecond) precision. The accuracy of the timestamp largely depends on the timing source that is used to “discipline” the adapter. The adage “garbage in, garbage out” comes to mind.
There are 5 different timing sources to choose from, listed below in order from highest to lowest precision:
- GPS/CDMA – ANIC adapter can be directly attached (via a front port) to a 1PPS (One Pulse Per Second) time source such as GPS or CDMA.
- PTP or IEEE 1588 – A PTP (Precision Time Protocol) network can be connected to an ANIC adapter.
- Another ANIC adapter – One ANIC adapter can be the time source for another by attaching them via the onboard “card-to-card bus”.
- Host OS – The host operating system acts as the time source and can in turn be disciplined by any other source such as PTP, 1PPS, NTP or the like.
- Free Running – All timing is handled by the ANIC adapter onboard clock. This is the least precise mechanism but easiest to utilize.
For more information on ANIC adapter features see below.