[ntp:questions] Issues trying to sync to NIST public servers

François Meyer fmeyer at obs-besancon.fr
Sat Feb 2 23:39:50 UTC 2019


Yes, the main reason behind the requirement is probably the traceability
to UTC of the stratum 0 used by the server : NIST servers are traceable
to UTC, which is (formally) not the case for a server with a GNSS
as stratum 0.

In case NIST servers are hard to reach, a metrologically defendable fallback 
could be to use ntp servers from another national metrology institute 
which would provide the same traceability to UTC.

>From the US, servers operated by the NRC in Canada is the most 
sensible (geographically speaking) option, and those servers 
have the same traceability status as NIST servers.

https://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/services/time/network_time.html

Just log the reason why you pick a server outside the US, locate 
and log the page on the NRC site stating the traceability to UTC
of their time servers and Bob's your uncle ; thats enough to prove
that you have taken the issue seriously and have taken the appropriate 
steps to ensure both your requirements and the traceability concern.

In Europe, picking a server operated by for example PTB in Germany, 
OP (Syrte) in France, NPL in the UK and so on would do the job.


On Fri, 1 Feb 2019, Jason Rabel wrote:

>> Yes, this is a common PITA. FINRA and/or SEC getting onto you?
>> They are still "defining" the regulation, but the current idea is rather silly.
>> Many of the NIST servers are run out of the University of Colorado and
>> are single home with CenturyLink. Congestion and/or other network
>> issues causes false alarms all the time.
>
> I don't know anything about the financial regulations, but what about
> having a local GNSS or cellular based S1 NTP (or PTP) server? You will
> gain an order of magnitude in accuracy syncing to a LAN source vs
> traversing the Internet. Or possibly using the USNO NTP servers? I
> suppose if it *has* to be traceable to NIST (which operates
> independently of USNO/GPS) you could get a WWVB based NTP server. NIST
> & USNO are generally less than 10 ns difference from each other, which
> for NTP over ethernet the best you are going to get is in the ms range
> so it's technically a non-issue.
>
>> IMHO, if FINRA is going to require something like that, then NIST should
>> provide hardened NTP/PTP services at major peering/colocation facilities.
>
> Or use existing facilities at other major universities around the
> country that could also benefit from having extra local NIST-synced
> atomic standards.
>
> I've often wondered why they don't have multiple network providers at
> their two existing facilities, having a single point of failure seems
> awfully ironic seeing as how they have dozens of atomic clocks and
> servers in the facility... lol.
>
> Though one has to remember this is also a very tiny part of overall
> NIST. IIRC last time I saw NIST's 2019 budget figures they were taking
> a pretty sizable cut in funding across the board, so expanding
> services is probably out of the question unless it's deemed critical
> for national security or something (Which I would think would still
> fall under USNO & GPS before NIST).
>
> Jason
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-- 
François Meyer


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