Timestamp Accuracy for NI-XNET Automotive Ethernet Modules

Updated Apr 27, 2023

Reported In


  • PXIe-8521
  • PXIe-8522
  • PXIe-8523
  • PXIe-8623



Issue Details

What is the timestamp accuracy for NI-XNET Automotive Ethernet modules?


There are two timestamps for NI Automotive Ethernet modules: local and network.

Local Timestamp represents the time at which the frame was received by the XNET interface. The timestamp uses the LabVIEW absolute timestamp type .
NI Automotive Ethernet modules use PXI_Clk10, a 10 MHz PXI backplane clock provided by the chassis, to drive the local time keeper and to synchronize with other modules in the PXI chassis. If the PXI backplane clock is not available, the module uses its own internal oscillator. 
PXI_Clk10 provides frequency but not date/time information. When an NI-XNET session is created, XNET initializes the date/time information for the local clock using host time and increment from there off of the 100MHz hardware oscillator. 
All 4 ports on the same NI Automotive Ethernet modules are initialized simultaneously. If you need to sync hardware timestamps across multiple NI Automotive Ethernet modules, you need to use Future Time Events to get the host times synced up. 
The local 100MHz oscillator is disciplined by hardware to the PXI_Clk10 backplane clock. The bottom line is that you have 10ns precision for two Ethernet ports on the same NI Automotive Ethernet modules, but you have 100ns for two Ethernet ports on different NI Automotive Ethernet modules (or Ethernet to a CAN card).

Network timestamp is timestamp in relation to the 802.1AS grandmaster clock when the 802.1AS network synchronization protocol is used. As stated in the specification for PXIe-852x, the network synchronization accuracy is < 1 µs for 100BASE-T1 and < 3 µs for 1000BASE-T1.

Additional Information

  • The location of the timestamp point depends on the Port Mode of the session interface. When Port Mode is Direct, the location of the timestamp point corresponds to time synchronization protocols, using the reference plane marking the boundary between the port's connector (copper wire) and PHY. When Port Mode is Tap, the location of the timestamp point is the midpoint between the connector/PHY reference plane of this session's interface and the connector/PHY reference plane of the tap partner.
  • Starting with NI-XNET 21.0, you can use hardware timestamp on transmitted frame. This feature is not supported in PXIe-8521.
    • Set Interface:Output Stream Timing property to Replay Exclusive or Replay Inclusive. You can then specify a hardware timestamp using XNET Write (Frame Ethernet). You can use Interface:Ethernet:Output Stream Timescale property to configure which timestamp (Local Time or Network Time) the hardware uses to evaluate when to output a frame. Shipping examples are available at Example Finder >> Hardware Input and Output >> Automotive Ethernet >> Ethernet Basic Input and Output.lvproj.
    • To synchronize frame replay across multiple XNET devices, refer to NI-XNET Hardware and Software Help >> NI-XNET API for LabVIEW >> Appendix >> Additional Information >> Synchronized Replay.

  • User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), regardless of LabVIEW Socket API or XNET IP Stack are implemented in the operating system and do not support timestamping.