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What is NTP?

Network Time Protocol (NTP) is an internet protocol employed to synchronize with computer clock time sources in a network belonging to and is one of the most aged components of the TCP/IP suite. It involves both the protocol and the client-server programs operating on computers.

NTP originated in 1981 to be highly fault-tolerant and scalable while supporting time synchronization. 

How does NTP synchronize?

The following steps implicate the NTP time synchronization:

  • It initiates a time-request exchange with the server.
  • The client can calculate the link uncertainty and adjust its local clock to match the clock on the server’s device.
  • According to the convention, six exchanges for approximately 5 to 10 minutes are necessary to set the clock.

Once synchronized, the client can update the clock every 10 minutes, requiring a single message exchange in expansion to client-server synchronization. This transaction surfaces via User Datagram Protocol (UDP) on port 123 and sustains broadcast synchronization of peer computer clocks. 

Why is NTP important?

NTP is necessary as accurate time for all gadgets on a network decreases discrepancies, for even a fraction of a second, as it can cause networking concerns.

What are the features of NTP?

Plenty of NTP servers are available worldwide, having access to precise atomic clocks and Global Positioning System clocks where the technical receivers directly communicate with the NTP servers. It is not valuable or cost-effective to furnish every device with one of these receivers. The devices established as primary time servers mingle with the receivers using NTP protocols to synchronize the clock times of the computers.

NTP exerts Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to synchronize computer clocks precisely, offering great accuracy on small networks. NTP leans on the host to execute such enumerations.

In short, the features are-

  • NTP servers operate at precise atomic clocks 
  • NTP uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to synchronize CPU clock time
  • NTP avoids having a fraction of vulnerabilities in data exchange 
  • NTP provides uniform timekeeping for file servers

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using NTP?

The advantages of NTP : 

  • Internet synchronization between the devices
  • Enhanced security 
  • NTP get used in the authentication systems like Kerberos
  • Provides network acceleration 
  • NTP get used in file systems having complex network synchronization

The disadvantages of NTP : 

  • Sync time is affected across a running communication during a down server
  • Servers are prone to show errors due to diverse, active time zones 
  • Minimal drop in time accuracy
  • Synchronization gets conflicted when NTP packets increase
  • Manipulation is more often

Wrapping Up!

NTP is a protocol providing reliable ways of sharing an exact time source over TCP/IP-based networks. Having the correct time on different devices is mandatory to sync the networks, or multiple issues can occur.

Thus, NTP must get configured carefully, or it can lead to losses. Get familiar with the domain as soon as possible to dive into the concept and its features. For further queries, feel free to ask. 



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