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The protocol specified in IEEE 1588, together with a profile, define a timing system that may be used to supply precise timing to applications. However, IEEE 1588 does not say anything about the interface to the applications. In designing this interface, the application performance requirements (e.g., jitter, wander, time synchronization) must be considered. For example, an application that requires microsecond or better time synchronization needs a hardware or firmware interface; a software interface can result in exceeding the synchronization requirement by a factor of 1000 or more. This paper describes the performance requirements of example applications. It then describes a general application interface in abstract terms. Finally, it describes realizations of the interface that can meet the performance requirements for selected applications.