Network Time Protocol (ntp)

WG Name Network Time Protocol
Acronym ntp
Area Internet Area (int)
State Active
Charter charter-ietf-ntp-03 Approved
Personnel Chair Karen O'Donoghue
Area Director Brian Haberman
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Charter for 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)


Date Milestone
Mar 2008 WG Last Call NTP Control Protocol - Informational RFC
Mar 2008 WG Last Call NTP Autokey Specification - Informational RFC
Dec 2007 Draft of NTP Control Protocol - Informational RFC
Dec 2007 WG Last Call NTP MIB Specification
Dec 2007 WG Last Call NTP Protocol Specification
Done Draft of NTP Autokey Specification - Informational RFC
Done Draft of NTP Algorithms Specification
Done Draft of MIB Specification
Done Draft of NTP Protocol Specification
Done Draft of Scope and Requirements Document
Done NTP WG Charter Approved
Done NTP BOF at IETF 61