[ntp:questions] Re: Lists of public NTP servers

Eric ejensen at spamcop.net
Mon Nov 3 14:37:33 UTC 2003

Hi Dr. Mills -
I have noticed that many new ntp users do not understand, or honor,
the distinction between Stratum 1 and Stratum 2 servers.  I see lots
of clueless cable-modem users syncing directly off my stratum 1,
apparently thinking that S1s must be better than S2s for their
individual workstation's NTP sync.  Their offsets are often measured
in tens or hundreds of millisecs.

I think that having the S1 page as easily accessible, and parallel to
the S2 page misleads folks into thinking that they have a choice: S1
or S2.  IMHO people should be using each stratum for a different

My suggestion, as this area is retooled, is to separate the S1 page
away from the S2 page to a less easily found spot within the NTP web
site.  There should be lots of links directing people to the S2 page,
so that only folks attempting to engineer a public S2 server would be
likely to find, and use, the S1 list.

A few well chosen questions, like "are you syncing one computer or a
whole network?", with the "one" answer leading directly to the S2
page.  If they click on "whole network", the next question might be
"are you using or creating a local NTP server to handle all the NTP
requests from your network?", with "no" going (again) to the S2 page.
A few more vetting questions like "will your local NTP server be the
only node from your network making NTP requests to external servers
from the public list", and "will the total NTP requests from your
network be limited to 500 per day?" could drive most of the new NTP
traffic to the public S2s.  

Maybe the S1 list could stay within your control, and the S2 list
farmed out.  I'm guessing that there are fewer updates of the S1 list
over time.  

- Eric

On Mon, 03 Nov 2003 06:01:50 +0000, "David L. Mills" <mills at udel.edu>

>I've been maintaining the lists of public NTP servers for almost 23
>years by hand and frankly I'm getting tired of it. I'd very much like to
>see the lists automated with a mail-driven interface and move them from
>my personal web to the NTP web. This is probably simple to do, but
>beyond my simplistic competence. I would dearly like to hand the project
>off to a volunteer much more competent than I. The current Corps of
>webdudes and hackers has lots to do right now, so I am canvassing for
>other volunteers. Anybody interested?

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