Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type


Program or Major

Computer Science

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Radim Bartos

Second Advisor

Philip J Hatcher

Third Advisor

Robert Noseworthy


The IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol is the industry standard for precise time synchronization, used in applications such as the power grid, telecommunications, and audio-video bridging, among many others. However, the standard's recommendations on how to secure the protocol are lacking, and thus have not been widely adopted. A new revision of IEEE 1588 is currently being developed, which will include revised specifications regarding security. The aim of this thesis is to explore the feasibility of the proposed security mechanism, specifically as it would apply to use in the power grid, through implementation and evaluation.

The security mechanism consists of two verification approaches, immediate and delayed; we implemented both approaches on top of PTPd, an existing open source implementation of PTP. We support the immediate verification security approach using manual key management at startup, and we support the delayed verification security approach emulating automated key management for a set of security parameters corresponding to one manually configured time period. In our experiments, we found that added performance cost for both verification approaches was within 30 μs, and PTP synchronization quality remained intact when security was enabled. This work should increase awareness and accelerate the adoption of the proposed security mechanism in the power industry.