Keeping accurate time is an essential aspect of our day to day lives. Nearly everything we do is reliant on time from getting up for work in the morning to arranging meetings, nights out or just when it’s time for dinner.
Most of us carry some kind of clock or watch with us but these timepieces are prone to drift which is why most people regularly use another clock of device to set their time too.
In London, by far the most common timepiece that people use to set their watches too is Big Ben. This world famous clock can be seen for miles, which is why so many Londoners use it to ensure their watches and clocks are accurate – but have you ever wondered how Big Ben keeps itself accurate?
Well the unlikely truth lies in a pile of old coins. Big Ben’s clock mechanism uses a pendulum but for fine tuning and ensuring accuracy a small pile of gold coins resting on the top of the pendulum. If just one coin is removed then the clock’s speed will change by nearly half a second
Ensuring accuracy on a computer network is far less archaic. All computer networks need to run accurate and synchronised time as computers too are completely reliant on knowing the time.
Fortunately, NTP time servers are designed to accurately and reliably keep entire computer networks synchronised. NTP (Network Time Protocol) is a software protocol designed to keep networks accurate and it works by using a single time source that it uses to correct drift on
Most network operators synchronise their computers to a form of UTC time (Coordinated Universal Time) as this is governed by atomic clocks (highly accurate timepieces that never drift – not for several thousand years, anyway).
A source of atomic clock time can be received by a NTP server by using either GPS satellite (Global Positioning System) signals or radio frequencies broadcast by national physics laboratories.
NTP servers ensure that computer networks all across the globe are synchronised, accurate and reliable.