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RFC 868 - Time Protocol


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Network Working Group                                    J. Postel - ISI
Request for Comments: 868                           K. Harrenstien - SRI
                                                                May 1983

                             Time Protocol

This RFC specifies a standard for the ARPA Internet community.  Hosts on
the ARPA Internet that choose to implement a Time Protocol are expected
to adopt and implement this standard.

This protocol provides a site-independent, machine readable date and
time.  The Time service sends back to the originating source the time in
seconds since midnight on January first 1900.

One motivation arises from the fact that not all systems have a
date/time clock, and all are subject to occasional human or machine
error.  The use of time-servers makes it possible to quickly confirm or
correct a system's idea of the time, by making a brief poll of several
independent sites on the network.

This protocol may be used either above the Transmission Control Protocol
(TCP) or above the User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

When used via TCP the time service works as follows:

   S: Listen on port 37 (45 octal).

   U: Connect to port 37.

   S: Send the time as a 32 bit binary number.

   U: Receive the time.

   U: Close the connection.

   S: Close the connection.

   The server listens for a connection on port 37.  When the connection
   is established, the server returns a 32-bit time value and closes the
   connection.  If the server is unable to determine the time at its
   site, it should either refuse the connection or close it without
   sending anything.

RFC 868                                                         May 1983
Time Protocol                                                           

When used via UDP the time service works as follows:

   S: Listen on port 37 (45 octal).

   U: Send an empty datagram to port 37.

   S: Receive the empty datagram.

   S: Send a datagram containing the time as a 32 bit binary number.

   U: Receive the time datagram.

   The server listens for a datagram on port 37.  When a datagram
   arrives, the server returns a datagram containing the 32-bit time
   value.  If the server is unable to determine the time at its site, it
   should discard the arriving datagram and make no reply.

The Time

The time is the number of seconds since 00:00 (midnight) 1 January 1900
GMT, such that the time 1 is 12:00:01 am on 1 January 1900 GMT; this
base will serve until the year 2036.

For example:

   the time  2,208,988,800 corresponds to 00:00  1 Jan 1970 GMT,

             2,398,291,200 corresponds to 00:00  1 Jan 1976 GMT,

             2,524,521,600 corresponds to 00:00  1 Jan 1980 GMT,

             2,629,584,000 corresponds to 00:00  1 May 1983 GMT,

        and -1,297,728,000 corresponds to 00:00 17 Nov 1858 GMT.

 

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