Why is Network Time Protocol an Important Feature for Serial Console Servers?

In many network applications, it’s often important that every network element, including the serial console server (http://www.wti.com/c-48-serial-console-servers.aspx), is set to exactly the same time and date. Synchronization of clocks and calendar setting on network devices helps to ensure that any time stamped data generated by the synchronized devices in the network accurately reflect the same time and date settings. The most popular and reliable means to achieve time setting synchronization within a network environment is Network Time Protocol, or NTP.

NTP is often used by network administrators to ensure that all devices in their network infrastructure are precisely set to the same time and date values. When a network device such as a serial console server supports NTP compatibility, this means that the device can download time settings from a central NTP server, and that the time settings for the device will be accurately synchronized with all other NTP compatible devices in the network.

Time synchronization is extremely important in network applications that collect time sensitive data from other devices in the network, and also improves the accuracy of time stamped alarm and event data that is often generated by devices such as serial console servers. For example, if the serial console server reports that communication with an attached server was lost at exactly 8:02 AM, then in order to diagnose the reason for the loss of communication, it is important that any data or reports generated by the server are also synced with that 8:02 AM time value.

When reviewing data generated by several devices in the same network application, it’s very important to know that the time values seen in the data match exactly from one device to the next. Since a serial console server is often used to report alarms and events within a network, it’s absolutely vital that the serial console sever supports NTP compatibility in order to ensure that time stamped alarm reports and event reports reliably reflect the time settings used by other devices within the network. When selecting a serial console server product for time sensitive network applications, make certain to choose a serial console server unit that also supports NTP; time synchronization improves both the significance and reliability of data and reports generated by the serial console server, and helps to assure network administrators that when a serial console server thinks that it’s 8:02 AM, the other devices in the network aren’t thinking that it’s 8:04 AM.

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