North American Network Operators Group

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Re: well-known NTP? (Re: Open Letter to D-Link about their NTP vandalism)

  • From: Stephane Bortzmeyer
  • Date: Wed Apr 12 04:57:20 2006

On Tue, Apr 11, 2006 at 10:01:10PM +0000,
 Edward B. DREGER <[email protected]> wrote 
 a message of 27 lines which said:

> AS112-style NTP service, anyone?  That would be cooperative and
> possibly even useful.

It already exists (Security warning: do not use it on strategic
machine, there is no warranty that these servers are trustful):

http://www.pool.ntp.org/

Active server count on 2006-04-12
Africa 	1
Asia 	24
Europe 	368
North America 	223
Oceania 	26
South America 	7
Global 	582
All Pool Servers 	653

The pool.ntp.org project is a big virtual cluster of timeservers striving to provide reliable easy to use NTP service for millions of clients without putting a strain on the big popular timeservers.

Adrian von Bidder created this project after a discussion about resource consumption on the big timeservers, with the idea that for everyday use a DNS round robin would be good enough, and would allow spreading the load over many servers. The disadvantage is, of course, that you may occasionally get a bad server and that you usually won't get the server closest to you. The workarounds for this is respectively to make sure you configure at least three servers in your ntp.conf and to use the country zones (for example 0.us.pool.ntp.org) rather than the global zone (for example 0.pool.ntp.org). Read more on using the pool.

The pool is now enormously popular, being used by at least hundreds of thousands and maybe even millions of systems around the world.

The pool project is now being maintained by Ask Bjørn Hansen and a great group of contributors on the mailing lists.