Network Time Protocol, NTP time server systems distribute accurate time received from an external time source to network time clients over an IP ethernet network.
There are a number of accurate external time sources available to ntp time server systems:
MSF is a radio signal transmitted from Rugby in the UK, covering the British Isles and most of western Europe. Accuracy of the time signal is quoted a > 1msec.
DCF is a radio signal transmitted from Frankfurt in Germany, covering 2000 Km encorporating most of central and western Europe. Accuracy of the time signal is quoted a > 1msec.
WWVB is US based radio time code transmitted, transmitting a 60KHz from Colorado. Coverage is most of the US and parts of Canada. Accuracy of the time signal is quoted a > 1msec.
A GPS time server is the most accurate time reference, which acuracies in the range of a few nanoseconds acheivable. Coverage is world wide from the Global Positioning System.
NTP Time Server systems use the external accurate time reference to synchronise there internal systems clocks and use this to distribute accurate time around networks.
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Fig: Galleon Systems NTS-4000 NTP Time Server