In today’s fast-paced and competitive age, the usage of computer technology, such as time synchronization, is essential for any business or organization of any size and complexity. This is especially true for companies that conduct time sensitive transactions. Accurate timekeeping helps you determine when an event happened or needs to happen. Without synchronization, tracking network usage, accessing security tools, accurately correlating log files, scheduling operations, managing billing services, and tracing problems affecting the system is difficult, or even impossible to do.
If you have more than one PC, you should install a time server system to ensure that all your devices on a network not only run at the right time, but more importantly, at the same time. One common time server
system is NTP.
What is NTP?
Network Time Protocol (NTP) is a networking protocol that is intended to keep computers and other devices synchronized. It is one of the most common and oldest time-setting software in use. NTP uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), the primary time standard, to synchronize computer clocks to a few milliseconds of each other. The unique advantage of UTC for NTP networks is its accuracy. UTC is accurate no matter where you are in the world because of their connection to the atomic clocks. These clocks, also known as radio or reference clocks, maintain the precision of UTC. Degrees on the separation from the UTC source are called strata and are assigned with a number starting with 0. A system that is directly connected to radio clocks is stratum 0; a system that is synchronized a few microseconds is stratum 1; and so on. Generally, the lower the stratum, the higher the quality of the time source, but not always.
Computers running with Windows, Linux, and MacOS X operating systems can be configured to use an NTP server. In Windows operating system, NTP is the default time synchronization protocol used. NTP server for windows relies on a reference clock to tell the right time and helps synchronize all the clocks across a network.
Benefits of NTP
Maintaining a consistent and synchronized time is important for many reasons. First, it ensures optimal network performance. Any system needs a timestamp to store information and determine when a certain event occurred. And since timestamps are the only method to tell whether a transaction occurred or not, it is very essential that timestamps be correct. If not, you will have a difficult time ordering events or identifying root-cause problems, which provides non-desirable effects, such as prolonged downtime.
NTP is also beneficial for businesses that deal with time sensitive transactions. CCTV cameras, air traffic control, ATM machines, stock markets, and other financial centers rely heavily on NTP servers. In fact, they couldn’t function without an NTP server because it’s the only way to make their system run safe. Just think of the catastrophe that would occur if two aircrafts were not synchronized with each other. The same is true for any financial transactions. Stock prices change almost every second, so if machines are out of sync by even just a 10th of a second, it could lose you millions on a deal. NTP also secures your entire company’s computer network by tracking events in case of security breaches or authentication problems. NTP server could accurately record the time when these events took place, and thus, enables you to find out the ones responsible in harming your computer network.
Indeed, NTP servers are crucial for any business and organization, even for those that don’t involve in any time sensitive transactions. So if you’re running your own business, it’s essential that you install one in your network. An NTP server will allow you to have an accurate synchronized time, effective network management, and a secure computer system.