Real but hidden danger of network timing breach

By P Skoog and R Pragasam, Symmetricom


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Published in:

Electricity+Control, April 2013 (pages 4 – 8)

Enquiries: Val Verwer. The Comtest Group

Tel: 011 608 8520 or email


Should a portion of the data network go down, the clocks on every network device suddenly take on added importance. Administrators will turn to network management systems, which continuously collect log files from network devices, to try to determine what went wrong. That effort will be made far more difficult, if not futile, if the events depicted on the log files are not all working off the same, synchronised clock. If a router thinks the time is 12:05. but an application server thinks it is 12:15, good luck to the network administrator responsible for figuring out what happened and when!

Fortunately, IT professionals understand the importance of time to proper network operations. Routine events such as data back-up and directory synchro¬nisation, as well as potentially crucial applications - such as the time stamp on a financial transaction - depend on various components agreeing on the answer to the simple question: ‘What time is it?’


Take note

  • Timing is critical in every process and on every network.
  • A network timing breach can have catastrophic consequences.
  • For a relatively modest investment, companies can acquire a time server to ensure that a timing breach does not occur.