A global economy has many benefits allowing trade and commerce to be conducted relatively pain free from the other sides of the planet. But conducting business with other countries can have its problems most notably time differences.
We are used to the fact that when we go to bed in Europe, those in Australasia are jest getting up and for many businesses, knowing the time in the country that you trade in is essential. However many global transactions are now conducted online and quite often completely automated.
For this reason computers need to know the exact time too, particularly if they are selling products and services that have a limited quantity and any miscalculation in the time can cause untold errors. For instance, if people across the globe wish to buy an airline ticket from an American broker then the computer needs to know who ordered the seat first otherwise there could be a risk of double-booking.
For this reason a global timescale has been developed allowing the whole world to synchronise to one timescale. This global timescale is commonly known as UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) and is based onthe old timescale GMT (Greenwich Meantime) although it accounts for the slowing of the Earth due to tidal and lunar forces.
UTC is kept accurate by atomic clocks that boast an accuracy of a second every 100 million years, however, atomic clocks are highly expensive to own, operate and run and are therefore impractical for a business that just wants to keep accurate UTC.
For this reason the dedicated NTP time server has been developed that can receive a transmitted time signal from an atomic clock and synchronise an entire computer network to it.
The NTP time server can receive a time signal directly from a physic laboratory using a long wave receiver or more conveniently using the GPS signals that are transmitted by satellites 30,000 km above the Earth.
By using a NTP time server a business network can be kept to within a few milliseconds of UTC (thousandth of seconds) ensuring that they can trade and do business with complete and accurate synchronisation.