Network time service (NTP)
Delivering a reliable and accurate time reference across your network.
From ensuring staff and students don't miss meetings or lectures, to allowing your security teams to operate more efficiently, time synchronisation has never been more critical on modern infrastructure networks.
Available as part of your Janet connection, we deliver a stable time reference using the Network Time Protocol (NTP) specified in RFC 5905.
Our system provides stratum-1 time servers geographically distributed across the network and utilising various technologies to ensure accurate and consistent time references such as atomic clocks, GPS and the radio time signals MSF (UK) and DCF-77 (Europe).
The network time protocol (NTP) service ensures a consistent time across your infrastructure, bringing these benefits:
- Accurate logging and auditing on devices to help reduce the time required to correlate events from multiple sources, such as firewalls, intrusion systems (IDS/IPS) and servers, enabling network security teams to operate more efficiently and respond to issues and security events quickly and with better intelligence
- Time-based technologies such as Certificates, DNSSEC and One Time Passcodes (OTP) become easier to maintain, even when spread over diverse logical and physical locations
- Network critical services such as clustering and systems automation requiring time-sensitive actions
- Network latency metrics and benchmarking
- Accurate time synchronisation is a requirement for PCI DSS compliance
- Digital CCTV timestamping
- Accurate time-based events from devices such as environmental monitors and other IoT devices
Our systems support both IPv4 and IPv6.
Joining the service
To register on behalf of your Janet-connected organisation, complete the online application form. If you have any questions, please email the service desk.
Find the latest information and advice on the network time services community page.
Continuation of planned infrastructure refresh 2021 - 2023
We are now continuing this upgrade work, following a temporary postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the coming months, Jisc’s critical services team will be undertaking a programme of infrastructure renewal:
- The introduction of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) allowing us to access not just GPS, but also Galileo systems alongside DCF-77, MSF and Rubidium
- The underlying NTP infrastructure will be refreshed to meet the challenges of a modern network
In order to complete this programme of work, we will need to migrate our current infrastructure onto the new platforms with a small planned outage to each of the five server NTP appliances.
Our NTP 1 appliance was the first to be refreshed and this was successfully completed on 12 March 2020.
Dates for the remaining upgrades will also be regularly updated via our community page. Please note that the NTP service will remain up at all times.
Whilst this infrastructure work is taking place, we strongly recommend that you configure more than one NTP server as a failover to ensure continuity of service (see support and advice below).
If you have any questions regarding this service refresh or require any technical assistance, please do not hesitate to email us and we will get back to you.
Support and advice
It is recommended that an organisation should choose between two to four local systems to be stratum-2 servers. The local server systems do not have to be reserved systems - they can do other work. However, they should be physically distributed around the organisation, so that they are not all on the same power supply or the same segment of a LAN.
Each local server should be configured as a client of a Janet stratum-1 server, and as a peer to the other stratum-2s at the organisation.
For further technical information about the network time service, visit our network time services community page.
Service level description
A service to provide a high quality time reference service for use by organisations in accordance with RFC 5905.
Hours of service
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year.
The target availability is 100%.
Faults with the service may be reported via the service desk on tel: 0300 300 2212 or via email: email@example.com
The service comprises multiple servers which replicate the service.
Organisations must ensure they understand and adhere to the security policy.
You are responsible for providing all relevant information requested by Jisc to enable the processing of the application.
You are also responsible on an ongoing basis for maintaining contact details.
This service is centrally-funded.
Request for service
Request this service via the service desk on tel: 0300 300 2212 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service delivery time
Within five business days, as defined in SLD definitions, of receipt of all necessary information.
Terms and conditions
Organisations must ensure they understand and adhere to the Janet Network terms and conditions.
If you are experiencing an issue with the service, and wish to escalate the issue within Jisc please contact us via the service desk on tel: 0300 300 2212 or via email: email@example.com.
This service supports IPv4 and IPv6. See further service technical details.
This service is included within the scope of our ISO9001 and ISO27001 certificates.
Read more about International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards and view Jisc certificates.