A Guide to Synchronising a Network With NTP

Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a TCP / IP was developed when the Internet was in its infancy. It was developed by David Mills of the University of Delaware who was trying to synchronize the computers over a network with a degree of accuracy.

NTP is a protocol based on UNIX, but has been ported to work as effectively on PCs and a version is included with operating systems from Windows 2000 (including Windows 7, Vista and XP).

NTP, and the devil (application) that controls it, not just a way to pass time around. Any system running an NTP daemon can act as a client to consult the reference time from other servers or that can make your own time available for other devices to use that actually makes it a time server itself. It can also act as an equal, to collaborate with others to find the source of more stable and accurate time for use.

One of the most flexible of NTP is hierarchical in nature. NTP devices divided into strata, each stratum level is defined by its proximity to the reference clock (atomic clock). The atomic clock itself is a stratum 0 device, the device closest to it (often a dedicated NTP time server) is a stratum 1 device while other devices that connect to the stratum 2. NTP can maintain accuracy within 16 levels of stratum.

Any network that must be synchronized, you must first identify and locate an NTP time source to distribute. Internet sources of time are available, but often you are made of layer 2 devices that operate through the firewall. The only way you can peer NTP time is if the TCP / IP port is left open to allow traffic through. This could lead to security issues such as malicious users can exploit this hole in firewall.

Dedicated servers NTP time finding a source of time through GPS or radio signals and so do not leave a network vulnerable to attacks. By adding an NTP time server to a network router and any of hundreds or even thousands of devices can be synchronized through the hierarchical structure of NTP.

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