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Definition: NTP

(Network Time Protocol) A TCP/IP protocol used to synchronize the real-time clock in computers, network devices and other electronic equipment. NTP is also used to maintain the correct time in Internet-connected wall and desk clocks.

The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) can be obtained over the Internet from NTP time servers, or it can be acquired from stand-alone devices that receive atomic clock signals from the GPS. For more information, visit www.ntp.org. See UTC and time server.

Get the Time
Every time this Snom IP phone boots up, it gets the time from an NTP server.

Keep In Sync
SymmTime for Windows synchronizes a computer's real-time clock from NTP servers. It can display multiple time zones in digital and analog formats.

Out of Sync
This earlier LMCheck utility showed the time from all machines in the network. Computer clock circuits cost only a few cents and tend to drift (as in this example), which is why a network time server keeps every machine synchronized.

Synchronization Plus Security
For greater security, time servers such as this earlier SyncServer from Symmetricom obtained the time from the GPS rather than the Internet. (Image courtesy of Microsemi Corporation, www.microsemi.com)