Having unit be an NTP time server would be helpful


#1

Since the firmware is already configured to get its time from an external time server, it would be truly helpful to have it in turn be a time server for the LAN. I thought at one point that it was doing this, but all tests I make with firmware 5.3.12 point to that not being true, at least on my Balance 20. All attempts to access port 123 (NTP) on the Balance’s IP result in “connection refused”.

/Marty


#2

Hi Marty,

Thanks for the feature request.

Can you provide more detail on how it would be beneficial to have an NTP server built in for the LAN clients? Most OS’s do a great job of keeping track of time and there are already several reliable and accurate NTP servers out on the web.

Thanks,
Tim


#3

The same could be said for the implementation of a DNS server inside the PepLink’s firmware (there “are already several reliable and accurate DNS servers out on the web”), but we all agree that the PepLink providing a built-in DNS server is a good thing — yes? :slight_smile: I’m just interested in letting the PepLink be the “focal point” for the services it already knows about so that packets, even the relative few sent and received by time clients, don’t have to traverse into the Internet. Multiply the number of LAN clients all configured to go to time servers on the WAN side and it can start to add up. Since it already has a place for specifying a WAN-based time server, I have to think of my Balance 20 as being just as up-to-date as the time servers it is configured to use for its own purposes, so why not be available to pass that NTP “data” as a service on to LAN clients as well.

/Marty


#4

Thanks for the feedback Marty. If this becomes a popular request we will definitely look at implementing it in a future firmware release.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your Peplink Balance :slight_smile:

-Tim


#5

Hello,

+1 that would like to have this request implemented in the peplink

Regards,

HA


#6

I know this is old, but we are very interested in this. All the solutions I am looking at are software based and I would like to have accurate time available from the point of a cold startup.

Example: we are running virtual servers.

VM Host: clock drifts or is wrong for whatever reason.
VM Server starts up - time wrong
domain controllers startup - get time from vmware host - time wrong
domain servers are unhappy
firewall does not allow connections out because time is wrong
all other network services are now unhappy.

I would love to have a hardware based solution (like the peplink) that has access to the internet to get the accurate time before any of my internal services start.

I think this is a simple additional that would add a TREMENDOUS amount of value.
Also it allows to open less firewall ports.


#7

+1.
Another technical justification for allowing the Peplink to serve NTP: NTP is a protocol with hierarchy. The public servers on the Internet are like any other device in that they are paid for by someone with finite budget and therefore they have finite capacity.
If you are managing a network of your own with many sites it is sensible to consider having a hierarchy using a centralized set of NTP servers in your own network which get time from public servers. The remainder of your network would then be configured to get time from your central NTP servers.
This way you obtain time sync within your own network with a minimum of sessions to the outside world.

Many thanks,
Dana


#8

There are a couple companies that make stand-alone NTP servers, one example is Microsemi:
http://www.microsemi.com/campaigns/network-time-servers/?gclid=CIqi3prsn8ACFcRcMgodMwIAZQ


#9

Tim, while I appreciate that there are 3rd-party solutions for LAN-based servers handling almost any Internet protocol, any that require me to use a “Get Price Now” button must cost way too much for SOHO situations.

The point is that the Balance firmware is already requiring an external time sync so having the developers “turn that around” to provide our LAN that time data in the form of an (even a very simplified) NTP server makes the most sense. And cents. It’s a direct extension of the network-gateway service we’re expecting from the Peplink product. Today we have to have each LAN server/device that needs time synchronization to pass through the Balance for their requests. The Balance can answer those requests if you’ll enable it to.

/Marty


#10

Hello,

Please allow me to resurrect this thread.

In the business of TV broadcasters and media companies, a NTP server can be of great importance. Here is the feedback request from one of our customers:

Our audio mixer tries to reach an NTP server when it starts. We also have a physical clock inside the TV car that has be perfectly synchronised as it serves for coordination with the news. As these devices start much faster than the time needed for the process “powerup of HD4 cellular modules, get sync, get PepVPN up and then company NTP is available”, then it gets a wrong time and stays like this. Then we have to reboot certain devices after vpn is up to recover the correct time and only then can the local team work. It is not convenient and risky

It is a matter centralisation of all networking functionality and its concentration into the main router HD4 in their truck. If it could be used as a reference, all devices in the truck would then be asap available and they wouldn’t need to wait 15 min before they can act. These 15 min can be quite important in this market segment.

Hope this helps,


#11

Howdy. Time servers have significantly decreased in price. See, for example, https://www.css-timemachines.com/ . Wondering if you have tried something like this? $300 seems rather reasonable for a GPS (only)-based server and $500 for one which does PTP and NTP.

Such an acquisition and implementation may be faster and better than getting the Peplink folks to redesign (and increase the cost of) their product. Just a thought. :grinning:

I might also note that such devices as I have cited as an example use “Stratum 1.” Think about it… after all, how do the cel/PCS carriers get their time? GPS! NNTP is essentially a second order standard. Implement a non-network based server and your network will always know what time it is – irrespective of its connectivity to the “outside.”

Rick


#12

This is true but available space in such tv car is limited. Time has passed. It might be much easier to do it now, especially from gps equipped hd4…


#13

OK. Just so there is no misunderstanding: (1) such a device is small enough to hold in one’s hand, (2) is more accurate than NTP and (3) does not rely on the “internet” to set times.

Certainly everyone’s needs are different. Just thought I’d nominate an alternative solution (in which I have no personal interest), that is available off-the-shelf and w-o-r-k-s. :wink:

Your point is well-taken, however, when you note that for a router which already has GPS capability, the enhancement should not be so much of a burden.

R


#14

If you have a NAS on the network, you might look into whether it supports acting as a local NTP server. I run a couple of QNAP NAS’s (on different networks) that I have also act as LAN NTP servers. As far as I know, all QNAP NAS’s can act as NTP servers, while getting their own time from an Internet NTP server. Where this comes in handy in my case, is to provide time synchronization to a bunch of IP cameras on the network that are blocked (by the router’s firewall rules) from being allowed to access anything not on the internal LAN. (i.e. Out of paranoia, we don’t want the cameras to be able to access the Internet even if they were to become compromised, so the router blocks all traffic between the cameras & the WANs.) Yet we can keep all of the cameras time synchronized well enough for our purposes.


#15

Hello @Tim_S,
We have had a request for help with a project from a organisation and part of the requirements is there MUST be an NTP server within the cellular/router, this is how we need it to run,

Time preference to run in this order:

  1. GPS Receiver
  2. Cellular Tower reference (without SIM card)
  3. Cellular Tower reference (with SIM card)
  4. Internal Clock
  5. external NTP Server 1
  6. external NTP Server 2
  7. external NTP Server 3
  8. external NTP Server 4
  9. external NTP Server 5

Currently the organisation is looking at another Australian brand of router that is Linux based (we have the full SDK authority for this brand though not the resources to develop the solution currently), the other issue for the current brand they are looking at is it does not support LTEA with there modems unless the organisation agrees to by ten thousand units upfront (we and them both said we’ll look elsewhere).

Just wanted to add out weight to have an NTP server added in, especially with the MAX range as they can reference with the inbuilt GPS unit (which is especially useful in remote areas when travailing without cellular coverage).
Happy to Help,
Marcus :slight_smile:


GPS Satellite information
#16

@Tim_S,

Now that this thread has been resurrected yet again with even more use cases, is it perhaps time (no pun intended) for the feature request I made back in 2012 to be put into the product? The Peplink gateway device is already getting the time from the Internet (or from any built-in GPS unit?) so clients in the LAN should be able to query it for LAN-wide time syncing purposes. I’m certain that if they looked for it, the developers could find a small footprint NTP server package that has a satisfactory license for inclusion in your firmware releases.

Who knows… maybe the existing NTP client package you are using already has a server component that just needs to be configured to serve the LAN ports?

/Marty


#17

Hi friends, your persistence is amazing and this topic is getting very interesting. I checked NTP vs PTP. It seems that NTP is more than enough for our routers. Do you agree? Thanks.


#18

For me, my LAN network needs nothing more than NTP.

Edit: Perhaps the GUI can include info similar to what an ntp -c peer command would show. That way we can have a way to find out that the configured NTP server (or embedded GPS unit) isn’t responding, etc.

/Marty


#19

I’d like to add a further reason for NTP server to the discussion.

I’m looking at using a PepWave Max HD2 as a router on remote vehicles. One of the devices on the vehicle LAN is a single-board computer that has no real-time clock i.e. it always boots with the wrong time and requires an update, NTP is the obvious method. Upon system start up the Internet will not be available (e.g. waiting to acquire satellite connection) but the PepWave router has a real-time clock that is, presumably, kept up to date by GPS. That is my preference for acquiring time for the SBC i.e. Internet is not available and all the required hardware is on the PepWave… in fact I’m amazed that there isn’t an NTP server function on the PepWave… surely I’ve missed something?

Andy


#20

Keith, to answer your question: Yes, NTP should be quite sufficient. For one of your devices that already includes GPS it would actually become a Stratum 1 server! - Rick