The White Rabbit Project
G.Gaderer, P.Loschmidt (Austrian Academy of Sciences) E.G.Cota, J.H.Lewis, J.Serrano*, M.Cattin, P.Alvarez, P.M.Oliveira Fernandes Moreira, T.Wlostowski (CERN) J.Dedic (Cosylab) C.Prados, M.Kreider, R.Baer, S.Rauch, T.Fleck (GSI)
Reliable, fast and deterministic transmission of control information in a network is a need for many distributed systems. One example is timing systems, where a reference frequency is used to accurately schedule time-critical messages. The White Rabbit (WR) project is a multi-laboratory and multi-company effort to bring together the best of the data transfer and timing worlds in a completely open design. It takes advantage of the latest developments for improving timing over Ethernet, such as IEEE 1588 (Precision Time Protocol) and Synchronous Ethernet. The presented approach aims for a general purpose, fieldbus-like transmission system, which provides deterministic data and timing (sub-ns accuracy and ps jitter) to around 1000 stations. It automatically compensates for fiber lengths in the order of 10 km. This paper describes the WR design goals and the specification used for the project. It goes on to describe the central component of the WR system structure - the WR switch - with theoretical considerations about the requirements. Finally, it presents real timing measurements for the first prototypes of WR hardware.