When The (Net) Time Stood Still


D-Link, which makes network equipment for the home and other sundry stuff has been blamed by some for choking the Internet Time Servers by hitting them so often that the whole time thing is running late. D-Link apparently had been hitting the time servers hard since August 2005.Poul-Henning Kamp has been trying to get D-Link to mend its ways but nothing has happened so far.

BBC reports that it nearly accounted for 90% of the traffic on some Danish Time Servers.

Mr Kamp said a new line of products sold by D-Link has the list of the net’s time servers written into the software that keeps the devices running. This has revealed that D-Link hardware is also causing problems for 50 other net time servers. The list includes some run by the US military, Nasa, US research organisations and government groups around the world.

Time Servers, while not something we pay attention to are critical part of the broadband life. For instance they play some kinda role in determining times for eBay auctions etc. Like most useful things on the Internet Time Servers are maintained on a non-profit basis and don’t have much money to splurge on bandwidth and hardware.

I find it strange that all these companies who want to make money selling devices or what not to the consumers, but don’t invest in their own infrastructure. D-Link can easily afford to sponsor (or pay for) a time server. It can’t be that much money!



Both the current D-link, and the previous netgear incidents are discussed above in my blog.

As someone who’s implemented a WHOLE bunch of ntp servers over the years (first thing done when installing/taking over a lab)
I can safely report that I NEVER connected to ANY stratum 1 NTP servers!


This reminds me of a similar incident a couple of years ago when Netgear wireless routers flooded the ntp server at Univ of Madison with ntp queries.
A simple firmware upgrade fixed it although i am unsure as to how many consumers are willing to “risk” performing firmware upgrades on their router or even aware that the problem exists in the first place.

It should have been easy enough to make the ntp server an options field so that a firmware update would not be required and in any case netgear et. al should at least use the ntp server pool rather than statically hardcode ntp servers without prior permission from the admins.

Daniel Spisak

D-Link is going to have an announcement regarding this issue within the next week is my understanding. Don’t ask me what its going to be but it should bring this to a good conclusion I have been told.

Comments are closed.