Accurate clock synchronization for power systems protection devices over packet switched networks

  • Andreas AichhornEmail author
  • Bernhard Etzlinger
  • René Mayrhofer
  • Andreas Springer
Special Issue Paper


Channel based clock synchronization in packet switched networks (PSNs) is considered for, but not limited to, the time and safety/security critical application of power system protection. The synchronization accuracy requirement of power system protection devices used for line current differential protection is \(10\,\upmu \)s, which could be achieved in time division multiplexing networks that were traditionally used in that domain. In PSN, highly accurate synchronization can be achieved with the standard synchronization method IEEE 1588-2008 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) when devices in the communication network are equipped with so called boundary clocks (BCs) or transparent clocks (TCs). However, when BCs or TCs are not available, the required accuracy can hardly be achieved. In this work, a modification of the PTP is proposed that replaces the clock parameter estimation and the computation of the clock control signal. Thereby, the statistics of measured packet delays are considered to select optimum estimation schemes. It is shown that the here proposed method outperforms the Linux PTP in terms of timing accuracy by a factor of 2 in enterprise local area networks and by a factor of 10 in Carrier Ethernet wide area networks.


Clock synchronization PTP Packet switched network Power system protection 



This research is performed within the research project SmartProtect, supported by The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Project No. 848911. Part of this work was supported by the Linz Center of Mechatronics (LCM) in the framework of the Austrian COMET-K2 programme. The authors gratefully acknowledge the possibility of using the communication network of the utility company Energie AG Oberoesterreich Telekom GmbH to be able to make tests in an active communication environment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Aichhorn
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Bernhard Etzlinger
    • 2
  • René Mayrhofer
    • 3
  • Andreas Springer
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and DevelopmentSprecher Automation GmbHLinzAustria
  2. 2.Institute for Communications Engineering and RF-SystemsJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Networks and SecurityJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria

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