White Rabbit logo blue

Short History of the WR

In February 2008 a meeting took place at CERN to discuss the possible upgrade paths for the timing system of several scientific facilities. During the discussions, a vision emerged for the development of a new synchronisation technology which would be high-performance, standards-based and fully open-source.

That meeting evolved into a series of workshops, held approximately every year, which have become the meeting place for the White Rabbit community. The first demonstration of a sub-nanosecond synchronisation point-to-point link was given in October 2008. The first WR prototype switch was presented in 2009, and the first commercial-off-the-shelf switch became available in 2012.

The other key ingredient in WR networks is a set of WR nodes. Inside each node, designers typically instantiate the WR PTP Core (WRPC). The first nodes were demonstrated in 2011 and there have been regular releases of WRPC with improvements ever since.

The first operational deployment of WR happened in 2012, in Gran Sasso National Laboratory (Italy), as part of the measurement campaign that proved neutrinos do not travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. Since then, there have been numerous deployments in domains as diverse as particle accelerators, cosmic ray detection, metrology and financial transaction networks.

Between 2013 and 2018, the main concepts in WR were integrated in the IEEE 1588 (Precision Time Protocol) standard. As a result, the IEEE 1588-2019 revision of the standard contains a so-called High Accuracy (HA) profile embodying these concepts.

WR standardisation triggered multiple new applications in industry and academia. In order to guarantee the sustainability of the fundamental building blocks of WR, as well as to provide better support to developers and users of WR, several institutes and companies teamed up to create the WR Collaboration in 2024.

My personal account of the history of WR

Javier Serrano

Co-inventor of WR and leader of the WR Project. 
He puts in writing his memories related to WR.
White Rabbit logo blue