RFC 1769 (rfc1769) - Page 2 of 14

Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP)

Alternative Format: Original Text Document

RFC 1769                          SNTP                       March 1995

   RFC-1305 specifies the NTP protocol machine in terms of events,
   states, transition functions and actions and, in addition, optional
   algorithms to improve the timekeeping quality and mitigate among
   several, possibly faulty, synchronization sources. To achieve
   accuracies in the low milliseconds over paths spanning major portions
   of the Internet of today, these intricate algorithms, or their
   functional equivalents, are necessary. However, in many cases
   accuracies of this order are not required and something less, perhaps
   in the order of large fractions of the second, is sufficient. In such
   cases simpler protocols such as the Time Protocol [POS83], have been
   used for this purpose. These protocols usually involve an RPC
   exchange where the client requests the time of day and the server
   returns it in seconds past some known reference epoch.

   NTP is designed for use by clients and servers with a wide range of
   capabilities and over a wide range of network delays and jitter
   characteristics. Most users of the Internet NTP synchronization
   subnet of today use a software package including the full suite of
   NTP options and algorithms, which are relatively complex, real-time
   applications. While the software has been ported to a wide variety of
   hardware platforms ranging from supercomputers to personal computers,
   its sheer size and complexity is not appropriate for many
   applications. Accordingly, it is useful to explore alternative access
   strategies using far simpler software appropriate for less stringent
   accuracy expectations.

   This memorandum describes the Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP),
   which is a simplified access strategy for servers and clients using
   NTP as now specified and deployed in the Internet. There are no
   changes to the protocol or implementations now running or likely to
   be implemented in the near future. The access paradigm is identical
   to the UDP/TIME Protocol and, in fact, it should be easily possible
   to adapt a UDP/TIME client implementation, say for a personal
   computer, to operate using SNTP. Moreover, SNTP is also designed to
   operate in a dedicated server configuration including an integrated
   radio clock. With careful design and control of the various latencies
   in the system, which is practical in a dedicated design, it is
   possible to deliver time accurate to the order of microseconds.

   It is strongly recommended that SNTP be used only at the extremities
   of the synchronization subnet. SNTP clients should operate only at
   the leaves (highest stratum) of the subnet and in configurations
   where no NTP or SNTP client is dependent on another SNTP client for
   synchronization. SNTP servers should operate only at the root
   (stratum 1) of the subnet and then only in configurations where no
   other source of synchronization other than a reliable radio clock is
   available. The full degree of reliability ordinarily expected of
   primary servers is possible only using the redundant sources, diverse