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ntp.toml - Man Page

configuration file for the ntpd-rs ntp-daemon

Description

Configuration of ntpd-rs happens in the ntp.toml configuration format. The toml format is in lots of ways similar to a simple ini with several extensions allowing a json-like syntax.

The ntpd-rs configuration file consists of several sections, each of which configuring a separate part of the ntp-daemon process. Each of the secions is described in the rest of this document. Many settings will have defaults, which will be indicated by each configuration setting shown.

The ntp daemon only supports unicast client-server connections. Most NTP traffic, especially across the public internet, almost exclusively uses this mode, so it is not considered a practical limitation for most scenarios.

Source Modes

Different types of sources (see the section below for details) are supported by the ntp daemon. To set the type of the source, you can configure the mode field with any of these options:

server

A server source connects to a single specific NTP server. If a connection is lost, attempts will be made to reconnect to the source.

pool

A pool source retrieves multiple NTP servers by resolving a hostname via DNS. It then attempts to connect to multiple of these servers at the same time. If a connection is lost, a new server will be retrieved from the pool.

nts

Connect to a single Network Time Security (NTS) source. The NTS protocol uses a TLS handshake to exchange secrets with a server to allow verifying that NTP messages have not been tampered with. Note that the TLS protocol requires that both the client and server have a rough idea of the current time.

Configuration

[source-defaults]

Some values are shared between all sources in the daemon. You can configure these in the [source-defaults] section.

poll-interval-limits = { min = min, max = max } ({ min = 4, max = 10})

Specifies the limit on how often a source is queried for a new time. For most instances the defaults will be adequate. The min and max are given as the log2 of the number of seconds (i.e. two to the power of the interval). An interval of 4 equates to 32 seconds, 10 results in an interval of 1024 seconds. If specified, both min and max must be specified.

initial-poll-interval = interval (4)

Initial poll interval used on startup. The value is given as the log2 of the number of seconds (i.e. two to the power of the interval). The default value of 4 results in an interval of 32 seconds.

[[source]]

Each [[source]] is a set of one or more time sources for the daemon to retrieve time information from. Any number of sources can be configured by repeating a [[source]] section (note the double brackets) for as many times as required. Each source can be configured to connect to a specific remote location. Multiple modes for connecting to sources are supported. If less than minimum-agreeing-sources time sources have been configured, no time will be synchronized to the local clock. Note that a pool counts as multiple time sources.

mode = mode

Specify one of the source modes that ntpd-rs supports: server, pool or nts. For a description of the different source modes, see the Source Modes section.

address = address

Specify the remote address of the source. For server sources this will be the remote address of the NTP server. For pools, this will be the DNS address of the NTP pool and for nts this will be the address of the key exchange server. The server address may include a port number by appending a colon (:) followed by a port number. If not specified the daemon will connect to server and pool servers via port 123, for nts sources the default port is 4460.

certificate-authority = cert

Can only be set on sources with the nts mode. Path to a certificate for an additional certificate authority to use, aside from the certificate authorities specified by the system configuration. Note that this cannot be used to specify a self signed certificate.

count = number (4)

Can only be set on sources with the pool mode. Specifies the maximum number of servers that the daemon will attempt to connect to from a pool. The daemon will keep retrying to get more sources from the pool when connections are lost, up to the maximum specified by this configuration value.

[[server]]

The NTP daemon can be configured to distribute time via any number of [[server]] sections. If no such sections have been defined, the daemon runs in a client only mode. Any number of servers can be configured by repeating the [[server]] section (note the double brackets) for as many times as required. Each server can serve a specific socket address or listen on all available network interfaces on a specific port. Servers always serve the system clock time.

listen = socketaddr

Address of a UDP socket on which the server should listen for incoming NTP requests. Specified as an interface IP address, a colon and a port number. The standard port number for NTP is UDP port 123. Both IPv4 and IPv6 are supported. For example to listen on localhost port 123 in IPv4 you can use 127.0.0.1:123. You can listen on all available network interfaces at once using 0.0.0.0:123 for IPv4 or [::]:123 for IPv6.

rate-limiting-cache-size = size (0)

Number of elements in the rate limiting cache. At most size elements are kept in the cache. This means that if more than size different clients attempt to connect to the server too frequently, the cache size will have reduced functionality, as rate limiting information gets lost when new clients connect to the server. If set to zero, the cache is unused, this is the default.

rate-limiting-cutoff-ms = cutoff (0)

Minimum time between two requests from the same client, if a request was sent sooner than the cutoff time, the client will be asked to slow down their requests by the server responding with a packet with the NTP RATE kiss code. No actual time measurement will be returned to the client in that case. If set to zero, no rate limiting is applied, this is the default.

allowlist = { filter = [ subnet, .. ], action = "deny" | "ignore" } (unset)

Only allow any number of filtered subnets to connect to the daemon. Any IP that matches one of the subnets specified is allowed to contact this server. The subnets must be specified in CIDR notation (an IP address followed by a slash and the number of masked bits, for example 127.0.0.1/8 or 192.168.1.1/24). The action determines what measure is taken for IP addresses not in any of the specified subnets. When deny, an explicit packet with the NTP DENY kiss code is returned to the sender indicating that they are not allowed to do so. When ignore is specified, messages are discarded with no response sent. The default value is equivalent to allowing any IP address, and would be equivalent to setting the filter to ["0.0.0.0/0", "::/0"], with either action.

denylist = { filter = [ subnet, .. ], action = "deny" | "ignore" } (unset)

Do not allow any number of filtered subnets to connect to the daemon. Any IP that matches one of the subnets specified is not allowed to contact this server. The subnets must be specified in CIDR notation (an IP address followed by a slash and the number of masked bits, for example 127.0.0.1/8 or 192.168.1.1/24). The action determines what measure is taken for IP addresses in any of the specified subnets. When deny, an explicit packet with the NTP DENY kiss code is returned to the sender indicating that they are not allowed to do so. When ignore is specified, messages are discarded with no response sent. The default value is equivalent to allowing any IP address, and would be equivalent to setting the filter to [], with either action.

[observability]

Settings in this section configure how you can observe the behavior of the daemon. Currently the daemon can be observed either through the logs or by retrieving several key metrics either through ntp-ctl(8) or through ntp-metrics-exporter(8).

log-level = "trace" | "debug" | "info" | "warn" | "error" (unset)

Set the logging level for messages printed to stdout. The lowest level trace gives very detailed information about anything going on in the daemon, whereas the highest level error only logs error conditions in the daemon. Levels higher than the given log level are logged as well. If not set (the default), then logging will be completely disabled.

observation-path = path (unset)

Path where the daemon will create an observation unix domain socket. This socket is used by ntp-ctl and ntp-metrics-exporter to read the current status of the daemon. If not set (the default) no observation socket will be created and it is not possible to use ntp-ctl or ntp-metrics-exporter to observe the daemon.

observation-permissions = mode (0o666)

The file system permissions with which the observation socket should be created. Warning: You should always write this number with the octal prefix 0o, otherwise your permissions might be interpreted wrongly. The default should be ok for most applications however.

metrics-exporter-listen = socketaddr (127.0.0.1:9975)

The listen address that is used for the ntp-metrics-exporter(8).

[keyset]

The keyset configures the internal key infrastructure for NTS packets. Note that this is separate from the TLS certificate and private key, for those see the relevant configuration in the [[nts-ke-server]] section.

stale-key-count = count (7)

Maximum number of old keys to retain in the cache. Whenever keys are rotated the old keys will become invalid, but clients may still have NTS cookies encrypted with any of the old keys.

key-rotation-interval = seconds (86400)

Time between key rotation events. Every time seconds elapses, a new internal key will be generated for creating NTS cookies. By default this is set to a day.

key-storage-path = path (unset)

If set, stores the internal NTS keys in the file indicated by path. This allows keys to survive a server reboot. If not set, clients using NTS may need to redo a key exchange operation to get new NTS cookies.

[[nts-ke-server]]

The daemon can be configured to operate as an NTS key exchange server by repeating any number of [[nts-ke-server]] sections. If no such sections have been defined, the daemon will offer no NTS key exchange services. All NTS-KE servers make use of the shared keyset. It is the purpose of the key exchange server to distribute cookies to clients in a safe way. These cookies can then be used in NTP packets with the normal server to validate that the traffic was untampered with.

listen = socket

Address of a TCP socket on which the server should listen for incoming NTS key exchange requests. Specified as an interface IP address, a colon and a port number. The standard port number for an NTS key exchange server is TCP port 4460. Both IPv4 and IPv6 are supported. For example to listen on localhost port 4460 in IPv4 you can use 127.0.0.1:4460. You can listen on all available network interfaces at once using 0.0.0.0:4460 for IPv4 or [::]:4460 for IPv6.

certificate-chain-path = path

Path to a certificate chain for the public certificate that the server offers to clients.

private-key-path = path

Path to the private key associated with the server certificate in the certificate chain.

key-exchange-timeout-ms = timeout (1000)

Timeout in milliseconds for how long a key exchange may take. If the timeout is exceeded the connection will be dropped.

ntp-port = port Port number the key exchange server should instruct clients to use. Should be used when the port number of the NTP server is not the default.

ntp-server = server-name Server address (either as ip or as domain name) where clients can find the NTP server. Should be used when this name does not match the name of the NTS key exchange server.

[synchronization]

This section of the configuration focusses on how the time information from the time sources is gathered and applied to the system clock.

minimum-agreeing-sources = count (3)

The minimum number of sources that should agree on the current time before the daemon does any steering operation on the clock. Note that if you have configured fewer than this amount of sources, this may result in the daemon never updating the clock.

single-step-panic-threshold = seconds | { forward = forward, backward = backward } (1000)

The threshold in seconds at which the daemon will completely exit (i.e. panic) when a single non-startup step occurs. Generally during normal operation the clock on your system should run somewhat close to the time it is synchronized to. As such, it is highly unlikely that such a large step will take place, and the daemon will exit to prevent any accidental mistakes. If set to the value "inf", any step will be allowed. May either be configured as one number of seconds for both forward and backward steps, or separate values for forward and backward steps.

startup-step-panic-threshold = seconds | { forward = forward, backward = backward } ({ forward = “inf”, backward = “86400” })

The threshold in seconds at which the daemon will completely exit (i.e. panic) when a step occurs at startup. The default allows any forward step, but prevents backward steps larger than a single day. Generally computer clocks that are not synchronized will run behind the true time, instead of running ahead. If a computer is running ahead and steps back a large time this generally indicates a problem. If set to the value "inf", any step will be allowed. May either be configured as one number of seconds for both forward and backward steps, or separate values for forward and backward steps.

accumulated-step-panic-threshold = seconds (unset)

Every time the daemon steps the time instead of slowly adjusting the clock by using frequency changes, this counter is increased by the absolute value of the step (i.e. both forward and backward steps are counted). When this threshold is reached, the daemon will exit immediately (i.e. panic). During normal operation steps are unlikely to occur, and as such, steps may indicate that someone or something is triggering illicit steps. By default however this panic mechanism is disabled. Is disabled if left unset or if set to the value 0.

local-stratum = stratum (16)

Sets the NTP clock stratum of the system clock when no NTP time sources have been configured, or when the time has not yet been synchronized from an NTP time source. Can be used in servers to indicate that there are external mechanisms synchronizing the clock.

[synchronization.algorithm]

Warning: the algorithm section contains mostly internal algorithm tweaks that generally do not need to be changed. However, they are offered here for specific use cases. These settings are considered implementation details however, and as such may change in future ntpd-rs versions.

precision-low-probability = probability (1/3)

Probability bound below which we start moving towards decreasing our precision estimate. Unit: probability, 0-1

precision-high-probability = probability (2/3)

Probability bound above which we start moving towards increasing our precision estimate. Unit: probability, 0-1

precision-hysteresis = hysteresis (16)

Amount of hysteresis in changing the precision estimate. Unit: count, 1+

precision-minimum-weight = weight (0.1)

Lower bound on the amount of effect our precision estimate has on the total noise estimate before we allow decreasing of the precision estimate. Unit: weight, 0-1

poll-interval-low-weight = weight (0.4)

Amount which a measurement contributes to the state, below which we start increasing the poll interval. Unit: weight, 0-1

poll-interval-high-weight = weight (0.6)

Amount which a measurement contributes to the state, above which we start decreasing the poll-interval interval. Unit: weight, 0-1

poll-interval-hysteresis = hysteresis (16)

Amount of hysteresis in changing the poll interval. Unit: count, 1+

poll-interval-step-threshold = threshold (1e-6)

Probability threshold for when a measurement is considered a significant enough outlier that we decide something weird is going on and we need to do more measurements. Unit: probability, 0-1

delay-outlier-threshold = threshold (5.0)

Threshold (in number of standard deviations) above which measurements with a significantly larger network delay are rejected. Unit: standard deviations, 0+

initial-wander = wander (1e-8)

Initial estimate of the clock wander of the combination of our local clock and that of the source. Unit: s/s^2

initial-frequency-uncertainty = uncertainty (100e-6)

Initial uncertainty of the frequency difference between our clock and that of the source. Unit: s/s

maximum-source-uncertainty = uncertainty (0.25)

Maximum source uncertainty before we start disregarding it. Note that this is combined uncertainty due to noise and possible assymetry error (see also weights below). Unit: seconds

range-statistical-weight = weight (2.0)

Weight of statistical uncertainty when constructing overlap ranges. Unit: standard deviations, 0+

range-delay-weight = weight (0.25)

Weight of delay uncertainty when constructing overlap ranges. Unit: weight, 0-1

steer-offset-threshold = threshold (2.0)

How far from 0 (in multiples of the uncertainty) should the offset be before we correct. Unit: standard deviations, 0+

steer-offset-leftover = stddev (1.0)

How many standard deviations do we leave after offset correction? Unit: standard deviations, 0+

steer-frequency-threshold = threshold (0.0)

How far from 0 (in multiples of the uncertainty) should the frequency estimate be before we correct. Unit: standard deviations, 0+

steer-frequency-leftover = stddev (0.0)

How many standard deviations do we leave after frequency correction? Unit: standard deviations, 0+

step-threshold = threshold (0.010)

From what offset should we step the clock instead of trying to adjust gradually? Unit: seconds, 0+

slew-maximum-frequency-offset = offset (200e-6)

What is the maximum frequency offset during a slew. Unit: s/s

slew-minimum-duration = duration (495e-6)

What is the minimum duration of a slew. Unit: seconds

maximum-frequency-steer = frequency (8.0)

Absolute maximum frequency correction. Unit: s/s

ignore-server-dispersion = bool (false)

Ignore a servers advertised dispersion when synchronizing. Can improve synchronization quality with servers reporting overly conservative root dispersion.

meddling-threshold = threshold (5.0)

Threshold for detecting external clock meddling. Unit: seconds

See Also

ntp-daemon(8), ntp-ctl(8), ntp-metrics-exporter(8)

Referenced By

ntp-ctl(8), ntp-daemon(8), ntp-metrics-exporter(8).

ntpd-rs 1.1.2