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What is TimeKeeper?

TimeKeeper™ is a time synchronization software developed by FSMLabs, Inc. TimeKeeper leverages VelaSync's GPS-disciplined time and PPS, and distributes them over NTP and/or PTP, depending on how it is configured.

TimeKeeper is also capable of tracking other time sources, regardless of protocol, or type (e.g., NTP servers, PTP Grandmasters), cross-checks them against the onboard PPS and/or GPS source, and—if necessary—drives the system clock to match the configured source(s).

TimeKeeper will reject sources that disagree e.g., in offset or frequency in order to deliver accurate time to timing clients, and to use the approved sources for backup purposes, i.e. as a source for controlled failover.

This synchronization capability works across different protocols and also helps with the detection of network asymmetries, noisy clocks, or faulty hardware. Given time source(s) to track, TimeKeeper can deliver PTP, NTP, and more to thousands of clients.

TimeKeeper's advanced time tracking capabilities also can be utilized to centrally measure and log timing accuracies of all clients on the network. The results can be displayed in a network map, or logged for potential use with audit trails.

Because of its flexibility and sophisticated failover capability, TimeKeeper is very adaptable to different network topologies and resilient towards real-world network imperfections.

Please note that FSMLabs' TimeKeeper Software is licensed under the Software EULA, see:

Why is TimeKeeper installed on VelaSync?

TimeKeeper is the software that ties VelaSync and the oscillator-disciplined GPS time it provides to the network and the NTP, PTP clients.

More specifically, TimeKeeper allows you to …

  • … setup VelaSync to operate as an NTP server or PTP Grandmaster, or both.
  • … reliably and accurately track and synchronize time from VelaSync's internal GPS receiver and other configured, external timing sources, and distribute time throughout networks, using NTP, and/or PTP.
  • … interact with VelaSync, in order to configure:
    • Available time sources, including the on-board GPS receiver.
    • Standard network/event management tools, e.g. SNMP traps, syslog notifications, etc.
  • … enable you to monitor timing performance across a network, using custom visualization tools.
  • … alert you on quality issues with sources and clients with standard industry tools.

  • … centrally log network-wide timing performance by building a consolidated audit trail.

Adding a new timing source

How does TimeKeeper work?

VelaSync/TimeKeeper system diagram

TimeKeeper synchronizes VelaSync's local clock to the highest priority source that is configured, i.e. typically GPS time. In the event this source is lost, TimeKeeper will then transparently and automatically failover to secondary, or tertiary sources as configured in advance.

TimeKeeper's integrated Sourcecheck feature will actively compare all time sources regardless of protocol, and proactively reject sources that have become invalid due to noise, a remote misconfiguration, or a spoof attack.

TimeKeeper then distributes this tightly synchronized local time via any of the used Ethernet connections, or the 1PPS line, respectively.

As a network administrator, you can interact with TimeKeeper and VelaSync by means of its web-based user interface:

The TimeKeeper "Web UI" is a versatile means to configure VelaSync without the need for command line interaction, and to centrally monitor timing performance for the entire network, using a timing network map, and other visualization features.

Protocols Supported by TimeKeeper

  • NTP, versions 1,2,3, and 4
  • PTP, IEEE 1588 versions 1 and 2
  • TIME (RFC 868)
  • 1PPS output

TimeKeeper Orientation Help

"Where to go from here?"

Now that you have read the TimeKeeper introduction above, you can …

  1. …familiarize yourself with the web user interface ("Web UI") and its menus in the topics below.
  2. …browse through a collection of typical use cases ("tasks") system administrators face when setting up or using VelaSync under HOW TO....
  3. Example tasks are:

    • How to log into TimeKeeper?
    • How to monitor timing status?
    • How to use TimeKeeper's logging functionality (audit trail)?
    • How to configure Event Notifications?
    • How to replace a power supply or hard disk.

    For more information, see Frequently Performed Tasks.

  4. Browse through additional reference information in the APPENDIX.