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Network Time Protocol (NTP)

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By: Falko

August 25, 2015

NTP and Its Function - Cybrary

NTP and Its Function

There are many network services running silently and without any interaction. One of them is the NTP (Network Time Protocol) service. Many often forget how important this protocol is. What is NTP?In the most basic description, NTP is a networking protocol that helps us keep the time up-to-date. However. its' importance is very high. It's one of the oldest protocols in use. Every device connected to internet network should use this protocol.Ordinary devices like personal computers, laptops, routers, etc. are not designed with the purpose of time calibration/computation There's a lack of accuracy within time computing by them. Therefore, we have to synchronize the time from time servers on regular basis. NTP LayoutThe hierarchical layout of NTP function is not what I want to explain here. I'd like to focus on the first level, the highest one, which is called "Stratum 0". The Stratum 0 time source is the most accurate one, which is made from atomic, GPS or even radio clocks. These devices use the most accurate way to compute time. NTP PoolsAs a client, you often hit an address similar to This address corresponds to a pool of servers which are designed and configured for time synchronization. This makes more reliable system, easier usage and the most precise and accurate synchronization. NTP ImportanceWhy is NTP and time synchronization important? There's a very simple answer. Many other services depend on this protocol. For example, with Active directory, problems often happen when time is not correctly synced and the difference between when a client was trying to log in to the domain and domain server is more than acceptable. He won't be able to log in, synchronization of files can fail and so on. Also, systems as is can fail in many processes like logging. You can even reach filesystem inconsistency or worse, you could deal with security breaches. The main purpose of this short post is not to educate much about NTP, but inform you about importance of little things in network environments we have to deal with. As every higher resource on networks or even system administration depends on these old and basic protocols, we must have a look at them and understand their basics.
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