Time is an important concept. We all use time to synchronize our behavior. Whether it is to arrange a meeting at a specified time or to have lunch, we are all bound by clocks and time. It is no different for computers. Multiple computers performing related tasks will often need to have a concept of time so that tasks are completed in an predetermined, ordered, manner.
The Importance of Synchronization
Problems arise if clocks are not synchronized. For instance, if your wrist-watch is half an hour out, the chances are that you may turn up late for a meeting. The problem of time synchronization is even more pronounced for computers. They perform tasks or calculations at very high speed, so if their clocks differ by even a few milliseconds, tasks can be performed in an unordered or incorrect manner.
Sources of Accurate Time
Advances in technology produce ever more accurate clocks. The latest atomic clocks are accurate to within a second in hundreds of millions of years. However, the technology is bulky and extremely expensive. It is simply not practical or possible for every home or business to have an atomic clock located on its premises. However, there are alternative sources of atomic time available.
The GPS system is a constellation of orbiting satellites that is primarily used for navigation and positioning applications. In order to provide positioning functionality, each satellite needs to have access to extremely precise time. Computers can utilize relatively low-cost GPS timing equipment to receive very accurate time from the GPS system. A GPS synchronized clock system can provide timing information to within a few nano-seconds of UTC time.
Radio Time References
Also available are national radio time and frequency broadcasts. These radio transmissions are available in a number of countries and can provide time accurate to within a few milliseconds. However, the broadcasts have a finite range, often limited to national boundaries and they cannot provide the same degree of accuracy as GPS.
TimeTools Products Related to GPS Clock Synchronization
GPS Referenced Time Synchronization
The SR series of network time synchronization devices utilize a GPS synchronized clock to provide computer networks with a source of accurate time. Almost any network device can obtain time from the SR series to synchronize its own internal real-time clock. Every device on a network will then maintain an accurate time reference.
Synchronized Wall Clocks and Time Displays
Synchronized wall clocks utilize network time synchronization technology to provide an organization with a highly visible display of accurate time.