The World in Synchronisation

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Time synchronisation plays an ever more important role in the modern world with more and more technologies reliant on accurate and reliable time.

Time synchronisation is not just important but can also be crucial in the safe running of systems such as air traffic control that simply couldn’t function without accurate synchronisation. Think of the catastrophes that could happen in the air of aircraft were out of synchronisation with each other?

In global commerce too accurate and reliable time synchronisation is highly important. When the world’s stock markets open in the morning and traders from across the world buy stock on their computers. As stock fluctuates second by second if machines are out of synchronisation it could cost millions.

But synchronisation is also imperative in modern computer networking; it keeps systems secure and enables proper control and debugging of systems. Even if a computer network is not involved in any time sensitive transactions a lack of synchronisation can leave it vulnerable to malicious attacks and can also be susceptible to data loss.

Accurate synchronisation is possible in computer networking thanks to two developments: UTC and NTP.

UTC is a timescale -coordinated universal time, it is based on GMT but is controlled by an array of atomic clocks making it accurate to within a few nanoseconds.

NTP is a software protocol – Network Time Protocol, designed to accurately synchronise computer networks to a single time source. Both of these implementations come together in a single device which is relied upon the world over to synchronise computer networks – the NTP server.

An NTP time server or network time server is a device that receives the time from an atomic clock, UTC source and distributes it across a network. Because the time source is continually checked by the time server and is from an atomic clock it makes the network accurate to within a few milliseconds of UTC providing synchronisation on a global scale.


This post was written by:

Richard N Williams is a technical author and a specialist in the NTP Server and Time Synchronisation industry. Richard N Williams on Google+