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BBC: Net clocks suffering data deluge
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 05:57:10 -0400
Begin forwarded message:
From: Bob Rosenberg <bob () bobrosenberg phoenix az us>
Date: April 14, 2006 1:21:45 AM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: BBC: Net clocks suffering data deluge
Perhaps for IP.
Does anybody here know what time it is?
P.O. Box 33023
Phoenix, AZ 85067-3023
bob () bobrosenberg phoenix az us
“Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
Net clocks suffering data deluge
By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website
Home network hardware supplier D-Link has been accused of harming the
ability to tell the time accurately.
Detective work has found that many D-Link routers, switches and
points are bombarding some net time servers with huge amounts of data.
Time servers help many net functions run smoothly. For instance they
have a role
in deciding who made the last bid in eBay auctions.
D-Link is now taking action after protests from time server overseers.
The problems caused by D-Link hardware came to light thanks to Danish
Poul-Henning Kamp who runs Denmark's time server. Typically the time
have links with atomic clocks to ensure they are as accurate as
Mr Kamp said his time server started getting hit with a lot more
usual in August 2005. Initially he thought it was a web attack as
use web clocks to co-ordinate their activities.
However, digital detective work by Dr Richard Clayton from the
lab at the University of Cambridge revealed that all the unexpected
coming from D-Link hardware.
It could be millions of D-Link devices. I have no way of figuring it
Mr Kamp said a new line of products sold by D-Link has the list of
time servers written into the software that keeps the devices running.
Further detective work has revealed the 25 or so D-Link products
time using this list.
The data flood is causing Mr Kamp problems because his time server is
run on a
non-profit basis and is allocated a small amount of bandwidth for the
so Danish organisations that use it to tell the time.
The data flood has seen his bandwidth bill rocket and Mr Kamp is
shutting the server down as he cannot afford the continuing costs.
Now, up to
90% of his daily traffic comes from D-Link devices.
Accurate time-keeping is vital for many of the net's functions such
stamping when people buy and sell goods via the net. Mr Kamp said one
the Danish time server was set up was to help police get accurate
some computer crime cases.
Mr Kamp said the responsible way to interrogate the time servers
would be for
D-Link to set up its own computer that can tell all its products the
rather than have each device act alone.
Frustrated by his dealings with D-Link over the last five months, Mr
published an open letter about the problems on his website.
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
organisations and government groups around the world.
"My server is not the only one they are abusing," said Mr Kamp,
adding that it
was hard to get an accurate idea of the scale of the problem.
"It could be millions of D-Link devices," he said, "I have no way of
A spokesman for D-Link told the BBC News website that the company was
"developments" but had no comment while it takes legal advice.
He said the company expected to issue a statement in the next few days.
However, Mr Kamp said that publishing the open letter appears to have
efforts to solve the problem.
Already D-Link has removed from its website, updates to the software
its hardware running that contains the time server list.
"At least the problem's not getting any worse," said Mr Kamp, adding
pressure from other time server administrators could force D-Link to
It was unrealistic to expect D-Link to update the onboard software of
hardware that is using the list of time servers, he said.
Instead, he would like D-Link to pay his bandwidth bills to ensure
time server can keep going.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 11:35:00 GMT
© BBC MMVI
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- BBC: Net clocks suffering data deluge David Farber (Apr 14)