An NTP server is a Network Time Protocol server used to synchronize computer clocks over a network of information. Many of today’s technological systems that contain computer chips often receive their time from such NTP servers. Synchronizing to these time servers has many benefits but can also have drawbacks. Being aware of these Pros and Cons are important in order to insure that a system you are using is up-to-date with an accurate time.
Synchronization with the Internet:
Using an NTP server ensures that time is observed accurately between your devices and the internet. At this day in age, all of our devices are expected to display consistent time with the internet from clock to clock, which is required for our all of our technical gear to be able to interface properly with one and other. Time could vary significantly from one internet-connected device to another if it wasn’t for NTP servers.
Total System Synchronization:
When all technology within a building or network synchronizes to the same NTP server, the chance of having several differently set times on individual devices is eliminated. NTP servers can send their time information out to many computers at a time, ensuring that entire systems of buildings, networks, campuses, etc. are running on the same time.
A NTP server can be internal to a premise. In this situation, a facility can consider itself less subject to a system hacking or attack. An internal NTP server can eliminate the need for an internet connection where the entire system becomes vulnerable to cyber attacks and viruses. In a world where cyber attacks are growing exponentially, an NTP time server can be ideal on an internal level.
Just like any website or internet server, sometimes an NTP networks can crash or shut down for a period of time. Like most glitches, these downtimes are unexpected and their duration can vary. When these servers are down, time data will cease to be transmitted to all devices that may be syncing to them. During this time, those devices may start to drift from the correct time and fail to match other device clocks that used the same server. When having an accurate time is extremely vital for your technology using an alternate time source or backup servers to sync with may be advised.
Not All Servers Guarantee Accurate Time:
Although most NTP networks are accurate and reliable, not all transmit accurate time data. Mistakes can happen whether human or technological. An NTP may run on a different time zone or fail to adjust for Daylight Saving Time, for instance. While NTP servers are very dependable for precision, it is important to make sure that a server being used is accounting for your time zone and for whether your location observes DST or not.
If an NTP server is the route you are looking to take for time synchronization, don’t forget to keep these Pros and Cons in mind. NTP networks are a common and respected source for time regardless of some of its drawbacks. This is a great option when used with the right application. For a reliable and safe alternative to keeping time, consider using an NTP as your everyday time source for technical equipment.