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The How And Why Of Syncing Network Clock Servers

clock serverIn the modern world, one of the easiest things to take for granted is the accurate times reflected on devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers. Contrary to popular belief, these times are not inherently correct or free from error. These clocks can easily stray off of the correct time, especially if no one checks their accuracy for many years or they are maintained by a battery-backed device that allows the clock to drift.

There will likely come a time when you need to sync your network clock servers to ensure that all devices on your network are reflecting the same and accurate time. By knowing why this process is important and how it works, you’ll be better prepared to sync your clocks correctly.

How Does Time Synchronization Work?

While you could manually set the time on every device in your network, you’ll never be able to get them all at the exact same time and it is an incredibly time-consuming task. Luckily, there are two common automatic time synchronization protocols that exist.

The first is Network Time Protocol (NTP). This protocol has been around for decades and is accurate to about the one-millisecond mark. NTP works by getting an accurate time from a public Internet Time Server, ensuring that your network’s devices not only match each other but the wider world as well.

The second time synchronization protocol for network clock servers is Precision Time Protocol (PTP). The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) originally defined and standardized PTP in 2002. PTP can synchronize clocks to the sub-microsecond, but it is more complicated to establish and is not available for all network equipment. Applications in which a microsecond is a long time, such as stock trading, are typically the only users of PTP. For most industries, NTP is sufficient.

Why Is Time Synchronization Important?

You may not realize it, but modern computer networks are heavily dependent on accurate time synchronization. Every aspect of managing, planning, debugging, and securing a network is based on when events happen. Without synchronized time, the success of these tasks and the security of your network would be jeopardized.

Sychronized network clock servers also ensure that shared filesystems reflect accurate times for document creation and modification. If timekeeping was inaccurate between devices, the discrepancies could lead to larger issues in your business. Billing services and other financial services and applications also heavily depend on an accurate network.

In short, successfully synched time servers lead to a successful network. To have a network built for company success, contact Time Machines today.

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