2.3.18 Network Time Protocol (ntp)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 62nd IETF Meeting in Minneapolis, MN USA. It may now be out-of-date.

Last Modified: 2005-03-01


Karen O'Donoghue <kodonog@nswc.navy.mil>
Brian Haberman <brian@innovationslab.net>

Internet Area Director(s):

Thomas Narten <narten@us.ibm.com>
Margaret Wasserman <margaret@thingmagic.com>

Internet Area Advisor:

Thomas Narten <narten@us.ibm.com>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion: ntpwg@lists.ntp.isc.org
To Subscribe: https://lists.ntp.isc.org/mailman/listinfo/ntpwg
Archive: http://lists.ntp.isc.org/pipermail/ntpwg

Description of Working Group:

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) is widely deployed and used
in the Internet. However, the standardization status of this
protocol has lagged in the IETF. RFC 1305 (NTP version 3) was
published in March 1992 and remains unchanged and at Draft
Standard status. RFC 1305 represents the majority of full NTP
implementations deployed today. RFC 2030 (SNTP version 4)
was published as an Informational RFC in October 1996 as a
lightweight version of NTP for deployments not requiring the full
functionality of NTP. SNTP now represents the majority of both
NTP traffic and NTP implementation issues on the Internet. A
good deal of work has been produced in the NTP community
updating both NTPv3 and SNTPv4. This work is ongoing and
available through the collaborative development effort in the NTP
community, but it has not been reflected back into the NTP

The goal of this working group is to document NTPv4 based on
the extensive work of the NTP community and to advance the
standardization status of NTP. It is an explicit goal of this effort to
have NTPv4 interoperate with the deployed base avoiding any
backwards-incompatible changes.

A number of topics have been raised as potential work items for
an update to NTP including support for IPv6, security
considerations including authentication, automatic configuration
including possible requirements for DHCP, and algorithm
improvements. This working group will focus first on delivering
NTPv4 and will defer additional development efforts until after
the delivery of NTPv4. Support for IPv6 and defining
mechanisms for securing NTP transactions is considered part of
the core NTPv4 functionality. Potential further modifications and
additions to the NTP protocol will be documented for possible
further work beyond the initial NTPv4 effort.

The working group will initially focus on the following
1. NTPv4 Scope and Requirements Document
(documenting the scope of the NTPv4 update and
identifying issues deferred for future work).
2. NTPv4 Protocol Specification (documenting the protocol
on the wire)
3. NTPv4 Architecture and Algorithms Specification
(documenting the architecture, mathematical algorithms,
and behavior of NTP servers and clients)
4. NTPv4 MIB (provision for management and monitoring
of NTP via SNMP)

Goals and Milestones:

Nov 04  NTP BOF at IETF 61
Feb 05  NTP WG Charter Approved
Mar 05  Draft of Scope and Requirements Document
Mar 05  Draft of NTP Protocol Specification
May 05  Draft of MIB Specification
Jul 05  Draft of NTP Algorithms Specification
Sep 05  WG Last Call Scope and Requirements Document
Nov 05  WG Last Call NTP Protocol Specification
Mar 06  WG Last Call NTP MIB Specification
May 06  WG Last Call NTP Algorithms Specification

No Current Internet-Drafts

No Request For Comments

Current Meeting Report


Wednesday, March 9 at 1300-1500


Brian Haberman (brian@innovationslab.net)

Karen O'Donoghue (karen.odonoghue@navy.mil)

Minutes taken by Dave Marlow.

Intro/Agenda Bashing, Brian Haberman


The agenda was accepted as presented.

NTP WG Status and Charter, Karen O'Donoghue


The NTP WG is now an official working group (IESG notice 2/25/05)

Authors were identified for all four pre-defined documents:

NTPv4 Scope and Requirements - Dave Plonka

NTPv4 Protocol Specification - Jim Martin and Jack Burbank

NTP Architecture and Algorithms Spec - Harlan Stenn, Bill Kasch

NTPv4 MIB - Tim Plunkett

In addition another topic was identified from the mail list:

NTPv4 DHCP Option - Rob Nagy has agreed to be the author if a

document is required.

First priority is to get NTPv4 out. IPv6 and Security are part of this

core goal.

NTPv4 Scope and Requirements, Dave Plonka


Dave is dividing the requirements between protocol and algorithms

which is the same way that the WG has divided up the work. It was

agreed that while the WG is standardizing existing practice, the

requirements would attempt to gather additional requirements in order

to document potential future efforts. Dave identified communities

for gathering requirements which included the NTP community, and

potentially NTP funding Organizations and in the case of the protocol

requirements would also come from the STIME community and ISPs.

Requirements are expected to include applications, configuration

(e.g. key distribution), system performance, security, IPV6, robustness,

and longevity/persistence.

At the conclusion of the discussion, someone brought up that there are

legal (and other) reasons to identify the source of the time that is

being distributed. It was recommended that people from the time source

community be sought. The PKIX TSP, which time stamps for non-reputitation

was identified in particular. Brian pointed out that that the major

focuses for the WG have already identified for this WG.

NTPv4 Protocol Specification, Karen O'Donoghue


The authors have just been identified and thus there was no presentation

on this topic. One draft which is progressing quickly was pointed out -


Discussion and Wrap-up, Karen O'Donoghue


Karen mentioned that the address for the mail list that is in the WG

Charter works now but may not in the future, everyone was asked to use



NTP Requirements