Data Classes

Enum Classes


Revision: 2006-07-31

This MIB module defines a MIB which provides mechanisms to monitor an NTP server.

The MIB is derived from the Technical Report #Management of the NTP with SNMP# TR No. 98-09 authored by A.S. Sethi and Dave Mills in the University of Delaware.

Below is a brief overview of NTP system architecture and implementation model. This will help understand the objects defined below and their relationships.

NTP Intro: The Network Time Protocol (NTP) Version 3, is used to synchronize timekeeping among a set of distributed time servers and clients. The service model is based on a returnable-time design which depends only on measured clock offsets, but does not require reliable message delivery. The synchronization subnet uses a self-organizing, hierarchical master-slave configuration, with synchronization paths determined by a minimum-weight spanning tree. While multiple masters (primary servers) may exist, there is no requirement for an election protocol.

System Archiecture: In the NTP model a number of primary reference sources, synchronized by wire or radio to national standards, are connected to widely accessible resources, such as backbone gateways, and operated as primary time servers. The purpose of NTP is to convey timekeeping information from these servers to other time servers via the Internet and also to cross-check clocks and mitigate errors due to equipment or propagation failures. Some number of local-net hosts or gateways, acting as secondary time servers, run NTP with one or more of the primary servers. In order to reduce the protocol overhead, the secondary servers distribute time via NTP to the remaining local-net hosts. In the interest of reliability, selected hosts can be equipped with less accurate but less expensive radio clocks and used for backup in case of failure of the primary and/or secondary servers or communication paths between them.

NTP is designed to produce three products: clock offset, round-trip delay and dispersion, all of which are relative to a selected reference clock. Clock offset represents the amount to adjust the local clock to bring it into correspondence with the reference clock. Roundtrip delay provides the capability to launch a message to arrive at the reference clock at a specified time. Dispersion represents the maximum error of the local clock relative to the reference clock. Since most host time servers will synchronize via another peer time server, there are two components in each of these three products, those determined by the peer relative to the primary reference source of standard time and those measured by the host relative to the peer. Each of these components are maintained separately in the protocol in order to facilitate error control and management of the subnet itself. They provide not only precision measurements of offset and delay, but also definitive maximum error bounds, so that the user interface can determine not only the time, but the quality of the time as well.

Implementation Model: In what may be the most common client/server model a client sends an NTP message to one or more servers and processes the replies as received. The server interchanges addresses and ports, overwrites certain fields in the message, recalculates the checksum and returns the message immediately. Information included in the NTP message allows the client to determine the server time with respect to local time and adjust the local clock accordingly. In addition, the message includes information to calculate the expected timekeeping accuracy and reliability, as well as select the best from possibly several servers.

While the client/server model may suffice for use on local nets involving a public server and perhaps many workstation clients, the full generality of NTP requires distributed participation of a number of client/servers or peers arranged in a dynamically reconfigurable, hierarchically distributed configuration. It also requires sophisticated algorithms for association management, data manipulation and local-clock control.

Glossary: 1. Host: Refers to an instantiation of the NTP

protocol on a local processor.
  1. Peer: Refers to an instantiation of the NTP
    protocol on a remote processor connected by a network path from the local host.