NTP Server: The World’s Wrist-watch
Knowing the time is an essential part of our daily lives. We all need to know what time to start work, what time to leave and even when to get up in the morning. We have a multitude of differen...
Knowing the time is an essential part of our daily lives. We all need to know what time to start work, what time to leave and even when to get up in the morning. We have a multitude of different devices for telling us the time; from our mobile phones to our wrist-watches but how accurate are these clocks?
Of course for our day-to-day business it probably doesn’t matter too much if the office wall clock is faster than your wrist-watch, I’m sure your boss won’t fire you for being a minute or two late for work.
However for some time sensitive transactions, perfect accuracy and synchronization is essential. A minute can make all the difference in industries like the stock exchange, airlines and even Internet auction sites.
It certainly wouldn’t be fair if that bid you placed on Ebay was rejected as an earlier bid done on a computer with a faster clock is recognized as being the last. And in environments like the stock exchange where millions of mounds can be won or lost in a second it is even more vital.
That is why it is essential for the world’s computer networks to not only use a reliable and accurate time source but also be synchronized together and that is where NTP servers come in.
NTP (Network Time Protocol) is one of the Internets oldest protocols. It has been designed and developed to keep computer networks synchronized .
NTP servers can receive an absolute timing reference, which is a timing reference from an atomic clock, the world’s most accurate time source, either through a specialist radio transmission, the Internet or the GPS network.
NTP servers use UTC time (Coordinated Universal Time) a world-wide timescale that allows computers across the globe to synchronise to the same time (the local computers simply make adjustments for time zones before displaying the time on the computer).
NTP servers ensure that a computer in Australia can trade with a system in America whilst confident they are both synchronized to the same time.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard N Williams is a technical author and a specialist in the telecommunications and network time synchronisation industry helping to develop dedicated time server products. Please visit us for more information about a GPS time server or other NTP server