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Maximum time interval error

Maximum time interval error (MTIE) is the maximum error committed by a clock under test in measuring a time interval for a given period of time. It is used to specify clock stability requirements in telecommunications standards.[1] MTIE measurements can be used to detect clock instability that can cause data loss on a communications channel.[2]


A given dataset (clock waveform) is first compared to some reference and phase error (usually measured in nanoseconds) is calculated for each time. This phase shift is known as TIE (Time interval error).

MTIE is a function of so-called observation interval. Window of width defined by this observation interval is moved across the whole set of TIEs. Each time the peak-to-peak distance between the largest and smallest TIE in that window is noted.

This distance is going to change as the window moves, being maximal for some window position. This maximal distance is known as MTIE for the given observation interval.

Plotting MTIE vs. different observation intervals gives a chart useful for detecting transients and other irregularities.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stefano Bregni (October 1996). "Measurement of Maximum Time Interval Error for Telecommunications Clock Stability Characterization" (PDF). IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. IEEE. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  2. ^ "Time and Frequency from A to Z". NIST. Retrieved 2012-05-24.