Time Synchronisation Solutions for Financial Applications
Highly accurate and reliable synchronisation of computer systems in financial applications is a key success factor and a mandatory prerequisite for being able to fulfil legal requirements.
It also enables you to measure network latency, allowing network engineers to optimise processes and transactions by identifying the bottlenecks in a transaction path.
Time synchronisation helps to improve protection mechanisms against market abuse, enabling the identification of manipulated time stamps. To compare time stamps created by distributed systems or network nodes, they have to be based on the same reference. For legal reasons, this has to be the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) timescale which is the global reference for time.
MiFID II Compliance
MiFID II came into effect from January 3, 2018 and requires the financial industry to meet the clock synchronisation UTC divergence requirements. For trading venues, their members and participants there is a requirement to synchronise the business clocks used to record the date and time of reportable events to UTC. To have any validity, the measurements should relate back through a traceability chain of comparisons with known uncertainties, to one of the timing institutes that maintain a physical representation of UTC time scale.
The limit of maximum divergence allowed depends on the trading systems’ gateway-to-gateway latency time, and for members and participants based on the type of trading activities being performed. For systems with an inter-gateway latency of less than 1 millisecond the MiFID II rules require a time-stamping accuracy of better than 100 microseconds, as described in RTS 25, the supporting Regulatory Technical Standards which deals with clock synchronisation.
Meinberg‘s LANTIME time servers has been designed to fulfil the emerging time-stamping requirements of the financial sector. The on-board clock module carries a highly stable oscillator that is utilised to generate the base synchronisation signals which are distributed to all I/O modules. In case of a complete loss of all external synchronisation sources, the clock module enters hold-over mode and allows the output modules to maintain the required time sync accuracy for a certain amount of time. Different oscillator options allow the end-user to upgrade the LANTIME’s holdover performance to achieve a holdover capability of 115 hours, at a maximum phase deviation of 100 microseconds.
The Meinberg time stamping unit HPS (High Precision Synchronisation) provides a future-proof platform for your IEEE 1588 / NTP infrastructure. The high-performance processing unit, the 1-step master clock and the 1GE interface with SFP slot support a very large number of PTP clients. Thousands of IEEE 1588 slave devices or NTP clients can be synchronised, both in IPv4 and IPv6 networks, for example transaction servers running high-frequency trading applications.
For NTP-based synchronisation, each of the HPS-100 network interfaces can be configured to act as a carrier grade NTP server with 8 ns time stamp accuracy, serving up to 409600 NTP requests per second on each port. Each HPS module can serve time to up to 2,048 PTP Slaves at full Unicast rate (128 sync / 128 delay req. per second) or 250K Delay Requests per second in Enterprise Profile / Hybrid mode.