Ticks the net correctly?

A short history of internet time and a few comments on M-commerce and satellite

Canada – a wonderful country, to which our not only mounties, maple syrup and the Lumberjack Song of the Monty Pythons should come in, but also Sir Sanford Fleming.

Fleming, on the 7. July 1827 born Scot, was pulled in 1845 to Canada and had to be trained there to the engineer. From 1863 he was entrusted with the important coarse project of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railway connection of his country. The task that the space of this huge country was technically took place for chief engineer fleming also asking questions of time. Railways need reliable timetable. During this problem with the transistory railroad built from 1891, that you simply adjusted the timetable and the station watches along the entire route on Moscow time, Fleming thought as a burger of the British Empire Global. He was not only fossomrecher of the telegraphic networking of the British dominion, but also initiated that Washington Conference, in which in 1884 the ZeroMeridian in Greenwich and the still valued time zones still today.

Ticks the net right?

The Greenwich Mean Time calculated based on the ERDROTATION was solved in 1986 by the internationally recognized Timetary UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). The latter, in turn, is based on the standardized second, which, according to the information of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig, is based on the following period:

"The second is 9 192 631 770 times the period of the transition between the two hyperfin structural levels of the basic state of atoms of nuclide 133cs corresponding radiation."

Instead of the Tessirne today, the casium atom gives us the clock in mind – a remarkable change of viewing angle from the macro to the micro range. Culturally interesting is still the change of time definition power from religious to the physico-technical area. Lifetime is the toughest of all human resources. The definition of time is therefore not up to about the most highest authorities in a human society. From the calendars managed by Priestly managed by the Maya and its sophisticated mathematics on the symbolic renaming of monthly names to the French Revolution to the time regime of the German collective bargaining service, time was always a political topic.

Casium clock, Photo: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt

So if innovationary in room dominant technologies have taken place, it was also directly or indirectly affected the time life. The high speed of the available means of transport compiled preciser tools for coordinating human and technology. That both the first flight of the Uberschalljets Concorde as well as the presentation of the first prototype of the quartz clock in the same year – 1967 – may be an amusante fubnote of this development: overshadow and quartz oscillation, the Jet Setter put the trend of the Western European industrial society, which at that time probably on the optimistic highlight of their effectiveness. Fashion, zeitgeist and technology synchronized themselves and celebrated in 1968 their synthesis in the opulence of Kubricks 2001.

Now the Internet is among other things a technology for room control. This aspect of the media revolution just occurring is through the trend towards mobile terminates. You always want to be online and everywhere, the word of "Evernet" is about. Waiting is unbearable, the interaction with services and people has to take place in real time. Apart from the fact that there can not be a room without time?. Time is important in the network not only for action games and telematic applications or if you want to associate log files from different machines, but especially for authentication procedures. Without functioning time infrastructure no secure transaction and without secure transactions no functioning trade in the network.

Ticks the net right?

Apart from the pleasant dummy launch of Swatch AG, to introduce its own internet time unit (which is not really, as it is still based on the standard second) and to put the accelerated zero meridian right through the local Biel / Bienne, there are also serious Technologies that ensure that the network remains in time-stroke. The most important of this is the Network Time Protocol (NTP), whose version 3 is described in RFC 1305 and the UDP (User DataGram Protocol, a simpler alternative to TCP). The Network Time Protocol serves the synchronization of the watches from computers on the Internet to the standard time UTC.

After initial experiments and pre-guides towards the late 1970s David L written. Mills, who today teaches at the University of Delaware, in 1981 the RFC 778 with the first "official" Ideas for this time synchronization protocol. In the mid-1980s, the first implementations followed, which could have an accuracy of about 100 milliseconds. The current standard implementation, NTP version 3, is exactly except for a nanosecond.

NTP is a hierarchical in subnets and layers (English.: Strata) Organized service. There are reference time server, so-called stratum 1 server, of which according to the FAQ document on NTP.Org in 1999 around 300 online goods. Such a stratum 1 server refers its time data directly from Stratum 0, ie a nuclear clock, via GPS or in Germany over the time signal DCF77, which is broadcast by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Uber Langwelle.

Photo: Physical-Technische Bundesanstalt

With the growth of the Internet, the need for time data is also increasing. The Stratum 1 server should therefore be queried only directly from machines, which in turn should provide more than 100 computers with the current time. However, in a survey carried out in 1999, it has shown that only 28% of Stratum 1 servers really provide the correct time. Computers that synchronize directly with the Stratum-1 time sources are called Stratum 2 servers. An incomplete list of these stratum 2 servers will talk to the University of Delaware. Calculators who bring their time again from these computers are based on Stratum 3 and so on. Of course, one can also install a card into a PC that can receive the DCF77 or the GPS time signal and then distribute the time via NTP in the LAN.

After downloading, installing and starting an NTP client, this contact will record to the set time servers. But now the Internet is based on a known piece of packet-controlling protocols and thus there is no real-time connection between the requesting client and the NTP server. The back and forth the data packets lasts different lengths.

Several data packets are exchanged between client and server. If a server gets a request, it answers with a data packet in which its current time train is included. The client remembers the responses of the server and determines the duration of the package travel time, which in turn is included in the calculation of the system time. The short the journey of the data packages, the more accurate the time train on the part of the client. After about fun minutes and the exchange of some valid data packet pairs, the client can determine the correct time using statistical procedures. Because of the inaccuracies determined above already in the Stratum-1 servers, the client asks several NTP servers and eliminates the coarse extenders before synchronizing the calculator watch.

Ticks the net right?

The time laboratory, Bureau International of the Poids et Mesures

As already mentioned, the time is particularly important in security models, such as the 1985 on with Kerberos, whose version 5 (with some extensions) also represents the main procedure for authentication in Windows 2000 networks. For Kerberos, a client first asks an authentication server to first using a gained password Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT), ie a kind of application for the exhibition of a paid Session tickets, With which then the requested service can be used. The advantage is that the user only needs to identify themselves with a valid password against the authentication server. The rest then does the client through "Show" of Session tickets.

If you have a paid Session ticket can show, may use the services offered. To increase safety, have the Session tickets expiration date. In order for this expiration date to be considered by all instances within a Kerberos realm, all involved computers must be time synchronized. This is a job for NTP. When Kerberos was developed, NTP had not yet been closed and wrapped against attacks. So one implemented a shutter according to the Digital Encryption Standard. Problem, until recently, the export regulations of the US government were still, and there were software versions with strong crypto for the USA and with weak closure for the rest of the world. When designing the NTP version 4, one decided to remove the DES code in the export version, but to leave the interface and instead use the MD5 algorithm that is not covered by the US War Weapons Act. Starting version 4, NTP is available with Autokey, a self-configuring closure process, in which public key cryptography is also used. Time is an important resource in the network of trust, which must be used accordingly.

The network will continue to spread into the room via mobile services and become a standing companion. Of course, the mobile phones and PDAs of the near future are somewhere to obtain their standardized time – otherwise there could be problems with the M-commerce. Well, however, the exact space / time determination is the DOMANE of the American Global Positioning System and there are already mobile phones that are equipped with GPS receivers. The problem here: GPS has its own time, which differs from the UTC standard time underlying among other things, which is missing in the GPS time the switching customers incorporated for correction in UTC. Each GPS satellite is equipped with two casium atomic clocks and – – depending on the type – with two or three rubidium atomic clocks, the system will be compared with the central clock of the US MarineObservatorium. With each switching customer drifting standard time and GPS time further apart. In 1999, the difference was already 13 seconds. This problem is solved by the fact that the respective difference between GPS time and UTC is fed into the GPS data stream.

GPS offers two different services: the standard positioning service (SPS) and the precise positioning service (PPS). The former is the GPS service for normal mortals and the second is the US militar and its composites available. PLC not only provides inaccurate space coordinates, but also does not monitor the time as exactly as PPS. The deviation from the normal time UTC amounts to SPS 340 nanoseconds and PPS 200 nanoseconds. The problem is natural that GPS is fully in the hands of the US militar. So it was unwise made to provide a future mobile trading platform and time-dependent authentication methods alone on this fragmentary basis. At least as a redundant caseback possibility, the keaked open source solution NTP should be implemented with an alternative stratum-0 time source in mobile systems. For the Psion operating system EPOC already exists an NTP client, for Windows CE I could not find it right away. For Palm OS and even for Newton exist implementations of the Related Protocol SNTP (RFC 2030).

There are other technologies for the time synchronization of computers in networks, but since NTP has grown with the internet, a look appeared specifically in this medium justified. When concluding remains: time questions are power ies.

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