What is NTP?

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NTP represents Network Time Protocol. It is a TCP/IP protocol that can synchronize the computer clocks across data networks. NTP was created in the 1980s by D.L. Mills at the University of Delaware to achieve highly efficient time synchronization and to maintain the effects of variable latency over packet-switched data networks through a jitter buffer.

NTP allows the synchronization of computer clocks distributed across the network by providing efficient local timekeeping concerning some specific time on the Internet. NTP interacts among users and servers using the User Datagram Protocol on port No.123.

The NTP software package contains a background program referred to as a daemon or service, which synchronizes the computer’s clock to a specific reference time including a radio clock or a specific device linked to a network.

NTP facilitates a systematic, hierarchical method of clock sources for its reference. Each level is known as a stratum and has a layer number that generally starts with zero. The stratum level delivers as an indicator of the distance from the reference clock to prevent cyclic dependence in the hierarchy. However, the stratum does not define the quality or reliability of time.

NTP supports the basic protocol mechanisms essential to synchronize the time of several systems to an accuracy of one nanosecond. It also includes regulations to determine the accuracy and probable sources of error of the local system clock. The protocol only defines the type of data representation and message formats but doesn’t support synchronization and filter algorithms.

NTP as a solution is most generally a client-server model, but it can also be performed using peer-to-peer (p2P) technology, and even advertising and multicasting, to provide some computing devices are operating with the same time.

Characteristics of NTP

The characteristics of NTP are as follows −

  • NTP is a protocol that necessarily searches for the good time sources for synchronization. It can minimize any error accumulation influencing the synchronization, and various sources can be associated with each other.

  • NTP can bridge temporary network connection issues for this purpose, the log uses past readings to decide the current time or deviations.

  • NTP can be simply deployed on servers hosting multiple services.

  • NTP can manage thousands of users at a time with minimum CPU usage.

  • NTP is highly scalable. A synchronization network can include multiple reference clocks. Each node of such a network can exchange time data either bidirectional or unidirectional.

  • NTP is a fault-tolerant protocol that will automatically choose the best of multiple available time sources to synchronize to. Several candidates can be integrated to minimize the accumulated error.

Published on 22-Nov-2021 05:14:57