Accurate and precise clock synchronization is one of the fundamental requirements for various applications, such as telecommunication systems, measurement and control systems, and smart grid systems. Precision time protocol (PTP) was designed and specified in IEEE 1588 to meet that requirement. PTP provides a mechanism for synchronizing the clocks in a PTP system to a high degree of accuracy and precision based on exchange synchronization messages through a master–slave hierarchy. The best master clock (BMC) algorithm is currently used to establish the master–slave hierarchy for PTP. However, the BMC algorithm does not provide a fast recovery mechanism in case of master failures. The accuracy and precision of the PTP clocks could be deteriorated by the occurrence of failure in the network (link or node failure). These fault occurrences will affect network performance and reliability, and cause clock time drifting of the PTP nodes. In this paper, we present a novel approach, called timing fault recovery (TFR), to significantly reduce clock time drifting in PTP systems. TFR detects the fault occurrence in the network and recovers it by using a handshake mechanism with a short duration. Therefore, the TFR approach provides clock stability and constancy and increases the reliability and the availability of PTP systems. The performance of TFR has been analyzed and compared to that of the standard PTP. Various simulations were conducted to validate the performance analysis. The results show that, for our sample network, the TFR approach reduces clock drifting by 90% in comparison to the standard PTP, thus providing better clock firmness and synchronization accuracy for PTP clocks.
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