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  1. #21
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    I haven't seen a discrepancy beyond about 2min with default settings on any of my networks. The domains are just that much more consistent because of the internal default mechanism.

    I'm not saying that doesn't happen, I'm simply saying I haven't seen it. Now that being said, Phoenix is an incredibly well connected city. So, I have to assume that my experience with it all is based on a very healthy local Internet. I suspect that Stonecat is in a similar situation, given his region of operation as well.

    I have seen older networks in outlying areas get times that are off by DAYS. So the issue is certainly a real one in some cases. But for me, yeah I'm in that hold where if it's off by a few minutes I could care less.
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  2. #22
    Untangler AngelKnight's Avatar
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    Default Works VERY well!

    Thank you GeneralEclectic for this tip! I have set it up appropriately and am anxiously awaiting the results over the next few hours to see how low my offset gets.

    I do have one question, though, which I believe I have answered myself. When Untangle next updates, I shouldn't have to do any changes to my configuration, correct? Even if ntpd updates (through a Debian update that comes along with Untangle), the configuration file shouldn't change, so I believe all will be fine, right?

    At any rate, all my local systems are now pulling their time from Untangle, and this has solved a few issues I had with my file server being 5 minutes off from the rest of the systems, LOL. Thank you again!

  3. #23
    Untangle Ninja
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    I'll throw mine in with GE.
    If, say, you're running 30 sec exposures on a dslr, mounted to a 8" Schmidt, driven by your friendly win laptop, and you're using the default win time, your shots will, I know from experience, look like "s_crap_t".

    That being said I also haven't seen more than 1 minute discrepancy in any of my small networks over the years.

    So GE, good handling of the know all naysayers, I appreciate your work so keep posting what you learn.

  4. #24
    Master Untangler
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelKnight View Post
    I do have one question, though, which I believe I have answered myself. When Untangle next updates, I shouldn't have to do any changes to my configuration, correct? Even if ntpd updates (through a Debian update that comes along with Untangle), the configuration file shouldn't change, so I believe all will be fine, right?

    Thank you again!
    You're most welcome.

    I have no particular insight into the behavior of the various update processes. The few *.conf files I've poked around in have survived all updates so far. Your guess about what might happen in the future is as good as mine. Probably one of the mega-posters here can offer a more authoritative opinion.

  5. #25
    Untangle Ninja YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sky-knight View Post
    Stonecat you're missing the boat here.
    No I'm not, my gorgeous and fast Baja is in my front yard.

    Off 10 minutes a week? Dunno what hardware this guy is getting those numbers from, must be running cloners on 19 dollar Pine motherboards or something...in p2p.

    I'm just saying the built in Microsoft one with servers (domains) isn't crap like he's claiming, taking a minute to learn how to set it up correctly, and taking less than 20 seconds to actually go through setting it up, and it works fine. I do agree, as I already mentioned above, that the default one built into Windows desktop OS's (time.windows.com) does suck.
    Last edited by YeOldeStonecat; 04-22-2011 at 03:08 AM.

  6. #26
    Master Untangler
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    Default Time Clients

    I've spent a bit of time trying out a variety of workstation time clients over the last near-week. It would be nice to be able to say "Use this" and make a recommendation, but I don't think that's possible. One good reason for this is that people don't use their workstations the same way, especially when it comes to running them 24/7 as opposed to powering-on as needed. The use pattern influences the choice of client behavior.

    The clients fall generally into two camps, those that strive for long term steady state accuracy, and those that brute-force the clock into "sync". The former will get you more accurate time, at the expense of leaving the machine running. Notebook users will need brute force.

    Here's what I recommend as a starting point:

    For 24/7 operation where you're looking for millisecond-level offsets, install NTP for Windows from here: http://www.meinberg-usa.com/ntp-software.php I've had a few issues with getting this to work, but others have reported success. This discussion may help you:
    http://bugzilla.ntp.org/show_bug.cgi?id=328 Set the server address in the .\etc\ntp.conf that it creates for you, and add the keywords "iburst" and "burst" (separated by spaces) following the server address. There's very little other configuration required. There is a small set of ntp tools that mimic the operation of the *nix programs of the same name, in the Windows environment. I recommend that you monitor the behavior of this for several days after startup so that you can assure yourself that it's achieving the results you expect.

    For the notebook use model, I've concluded, after reviewing at least a dozen time utilities, that W32Time is as good as anything (which is to say not great), and it's already in your computer. However, it requires some configuration. For that, a registry edit is required because it doesn't respect some of the settings you make in Group Policy. The downside of W32Time set for holding +-50msec accuracy is that it has to hit the time server (yours) every few minutes. Fortunately, servicing a time request takes virtually no resources, so if you have only a few hundred machines or less, it shouldn't make a bit of difference to your Untangle box.

    Here is the registry information. Copy and save to [your filename].reg

    Code:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\W32Time\Config]
    "FrequencyCorrectRate"=dword:00000001
    "PollAdjustFactor"=dword:00000005
    "LargePhaseOffset"=dword:02faf080
    "SpikeWatchPeriod"=dword:00000384
    "HoldPeriod"=dword:00000005
    "PhaseCorrectRate"=dword:00000007
    "UpdateInterval"=dword:00000064
    "MinPollInterval"=dword:00000004
    "MaxPollInterval"=dword:00000007
    "MaxNegPhaseCorrection"=dword:0000d2f0
    "MaxPosPhaseCorrection"=dword:0000d2f0
    "MaxAllowedPhaseOffset"=dword:0000001e
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\W32Time\Parameters]
    "Type"="NTP"
    "NtpServer"="192.168.0.1,0x8"
    
    
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient]
    "Enabled"=dword:00000001
    "InputProvider"=dword:00000001
    "SpecialPollInterval"=dword:00000708
    BEFORE YOU MERGE THIS, EDIT THE SERVER ADDRESS ABOVE. Make sure it has ",0x8" after the address. No spaces.


    But wait, there's more!

    You probably think that you can pull up "Services" and set Windows Time for automatic startup, don't you. So did I. But that doesn't work, for reasons I have been unable to determine. If the service doesn't start, it relies on a Scheduled Task to kick it once a week and the performance is predictably poor. One very easy option you have at this point is to edit the "Synchronize Time" task and set it for an hourly trigger. That may satisfy a lot of people. Otherwise, to do it right, open up Task Scheduler and locate the "Synchronize Time" task and delete or disable it. Now click on "Create Task".

    In the Create Task dialog
    1. Name the new task "Force W32Time Startup".
    2. Select "Run whether user is logged in or not"
    3. Check "Run with highest privileges"
    4. Click "Triggers" tab
    5. Click "New"
    6. Select "At log on" from the drop down, and OK it
    7. Repeat #5-6 with "At startup"
    8. Actions Tab
    9. "New" ... "Start a program" is default.
    10. Click "Browse" and navigate to either System32 or SysWOW64 whichever is appropriate for your system. Locate "net.exe" and click "Open"
    11. In the "Arguments" box "start W32Time" and OK the dialog.
    12. "Conditions" tab -- clear all checkboxes.
    13. "Settings" tab -- defaults are okay, add check for "Run task as soon..."

    and OK your way out. Note that these instructions are for Windows 7, but should be similar for Vista and XP.

    You may have to enter your admin user password to run this task.

    This completes the config and other settings.

    Now reboot to test the scheduled task trigger.

    To verify that W32Time is working as expected, click on the clock in the taskbar and open the Change date and time settings dialog, Internet Time tab. You should see "This computer is set to automatically synchronize with [your server's address]. and "Next synchronization [sometime soon]" and "The clock was successfully synchronized with [your server] on [sometime recent]. Those two times should be less than 10 minutes apart, and may be as little as within the same minute.


    Naturally, this is only my take on time clients. I'd like to hear if you know of something you like better, or if you run into problems with any of the configuration.

    Finally, if you don't care if the clock is as much as 10 - 15 minutes a week off, then this isn't worth bothering with. Most clocks won't be this bad, but some are. I have one like that.

    Good Luck
    Last edited by GeneralEclectic; 04-27-2011 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Error in sched task instructions

  7. #27
    Untanglit
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    My 2 cents. Windows time service is horrible. I have had nothing but problems with how it drifts all over the place and this was with our in house time server. (Spectracom 9383 feeding a 9388) I run a 911 dispatch center so time is critical in everything we do, 1 second off is too much. I know most don't have the strict needs that I have, but now the ones wondering why anyone would need better accuracy have their answer.

    We ended up replacing all the w32time with Presentense and all my time issues have gone away.

    I have attached the log from today on my win7 machine and the time updates that have occurred. All our critical systems update every minute and the most of the non critical are set to update every 4 hours. I have set mine to every 5 minutes.

  8. #28
    Untangler IHateShuttle's Avatar
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    Default

    First off I would like to thank GE. This is something I have wanted Untangle to do for me that seemed simple. I agree it should be a checkbox in the GUI.

    Now for all these negative nerds around here:
    Stop questioning why we need our clocks to be accurate. As you know, IT systems are use for a wide range of real-time applications. Some of which must be co-ordinated between different sites in different countries.

    We could make a list of reasons but we would surely miss many:
    Automation, security, navigational, astronomical.

    Now I must state that it's not just the hardware you run or the software on top but there are electrical reasons for computer clocks drifting more in one persons shop than another:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43532031...ce-innovation/
    The article I post here shows that Americans will all have bad clocks very soon and the only way to mitigate this problem is to use good NTP.

    You say your DC is an NTP server? Great! Point the DC to the Untangle box. Let the gateway handle all time negotiation and your windows clients can get their time from the DC.

    If you had a Linux server too it could share the UT as the source of NTP and your two servers would have good sync.

    Let us not question this technology any further. It does have uses, if you don't know what they are then move along.

  9. #29
    Untangle Ninja sky-knight's Avatar
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    I simply questioned it because I haven't seen modern technology thrown off by this level of accuracy. However if you need a more accurate clock for some scientific purposes, and they are very real... yeah tweaks are in order.

    But this information is best put on the wiki in some way... these forums get hard to search over time. Just look at all the repeated questions!
    Rob Sandling, BS:SWE, MCP
    NexgenAppliances.com
    Phone: 866-794-8879 x201
    Email: support@nexgenappliances.com

  10. #30
    Newbie eugenearmstead's Avatar
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    Default

    Ok, I've been using my untangle box as an NTP server for over a year or so. Thank you though GeneralEclectic for the writeup! I have one question though... This may be a noob question, we all have our moments... How do you make ntpd start at boot? In an Untangle box I do not see a chkconfig command. Should I set it in a chron? Its just a minor annoyance but I would like to know what you suggest. Thanks!

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