VoIP resources and articles
Home About VoIP VoIP Services Articles Sitemap Resources Directory


Using NTP for Precision Timing

NTP (Network Time Protocol) was originally developed as a solution to synchronising time critical process on the Internet. Dr David Mills, of the University of Delaware, developed the protocol over twenty-five years ago. It is one of the oldest protocols still in continuous operation. The protocol is the standard means of synchronising network time clients across the Internet. This article provides a technical overview of NTP and NTP servers and some of the terminology involved in computer time synchronisation. NTP was originally developed to solve the requirement of synchronisation of critical time processes across the Internet.

The Network Time Protocols primary platform is the LINUX operating system. NTP is provided under the GNU public licence; however, it has recently been ported to other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. LINUX is still however the primary platform associated with the Network Time Protocol.

NTP is based upon the User Data-gram Protocol (UDP) which is in-turn reliant on the TCP/IP protocol. NTP messages are communicated using UDP port 23, which is reserved solely for the use of NTP traffic. The protocol basically consists of a number of fields, which specify: time-offset, network delay and jitter relative to an accurate time reference.

The information stored in each NTP packet allow a network time client to accurately synchronise time with a NTP server. NTP is a structured protocol that operates in a hierarchical manner. At the top of the tree, a primary time reference is known as a stratum 1 time server. Servers that synchronise to a stratum 1 server are known as stratum 2 servers and so on down each level of the hierarchy. As the stratum increases, so generally precision decreases. Over a number of years NTP has been enhanced to operate with a plethora of precision hardware clock devices, or reference clocks.

NTP reference clocks are available for GPS hardware and also many of the National Radio Time and Frequency standards such as MSF, DCF-77 and WWVB. A number of third-party timing hardware manufacturers have installed precision crystals into their reference clocks to provide an accurate backup timing reference,. A spin-off of the NTP protocol is SNTP or Simple Network Time Protocol, which is basically as the name implies, a simplified version of NTP. SNTP is generally used in small low-powered computing devices such as micro-controllers.

It allows low-powered devices the ability to synchronise time to NTP servers over a network. To summarise, NTP is a long-standing and widely used protocol for synchronising time between time critical processes. NTP has a linear heirarchical structure that can provide a timing resource for large numbers of clients. For applications that require critical timing, NTP provides a de-facto standard solution.

D. Evans is an experienced technical author in the field of NTP and precision timing references. David is the auther of many white-papers and articles detailing the installation of computer network timing equipment. Please click here, if you would like more information on NTP Server systems.


What are Tar files are they compressed archives or not - Tar is a well known file format though many users confuse it to be something that it is not.

All The Secrets You Need To Know About Wireless Cellular Phones - As the modern age of cellular phones is upon us, we have some to recognize a simple fact and that is that wireless cellular phones are becoming a must for the average busy person.

Silver Nitrate A Versatile Chemical - Silver nitrate is among the most "multi-talented of all chemicals, and it has found uses in fields as varied as veterinary medicine and photography.

Wireless Headphones For Couch Potatoes - Are you the only one who likes to watch football games? If so, you need a wireless headphone.

The Holy Grail of iPod Speakers - Looking for the right speakers for your Apple iPod nano, mini or shuffle? This can be a real challenge with so many products ont he market.


© Copyright All rights reserved.
Unauthorized duplication in part or whole strictly prohibited by international copyright law.