Re: [Ntp] [ New Version Notification for draft-gruessing-ntp-ntpv5-requirements-02.txt]

Danny Mayer <> Mon, 14 June 2021 18:25 UTC

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To: Miroslav Lichvar <>, James <>
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From: Danny Mayer <>
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Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2021 14:25:21 -0400
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Subject: Re: [Ntp] [ New Version Notification for draft-gruessing-ntp-ntpv5-requirements-02.txt]
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I haven't had a chance to read the draft yet, but I wanted to respond 
based on Miroslav's comments.

On 6/14/21 7:04 AM, Miroslav Lichvar wrote:
> On Sat, May 22, 2021 at 06:31:13PM +0000, James wrote:
>> URL:  
>> Status:
>> Htmlized:
>> Diff: 
> I'd like to see this draft considered for adoption. We need to agree
> on the NTPv5 requirements before we can discuss the details of the
> actual protocol.
> I have few comments on some specific parts of the document:
> - "The specification MUST have support for servers to notify clients
>     that the service is unavailable, and clients MUST have clearly
>     defined behaviours honouring this signalling."
>    This looks like a good goal but I suspect we may not be able to
>    define a useful behavior for an unauthenticated context.
If this is equivalent to the NTP v4 KOD packets that's okay. I don't 
know what "unavailable" means otherwise.
> - "Leap second smearing SHOULD NOT be part of the wire specification"
>    I think the protocol needs to have some way to indicate that the
>    server has leap smearing enabled. Servers implementing leap smear,
>    but clients not knowing about it (e.g. using its own leap second
>    source) is a major concern in some environments.
The protocol needs to STRONGLY indicate how they are handling leap 
seconds so that recipients can decide whether or not to use the 
timestamps being returned. There are clients who CANNOT use smeared leap 
seconds so they would need to drop the packet if it is in the smear 
mode. I have a proposal to deal with leap seconds in a more general way 
which I will send out later.
> - "Encryption and authentication MUST be provided by the protocol
>     specification as a default"
>    It's not clear to me what the default means here. That it is enabled
>    by default in all implementations that support it?

We should certainly NOT be doing encryption on an NTP packet? What are 
you trying to hide? Timestamps are obsolete almost before you use them 
and there is nothing confidential about them. Authentication IS 
important and should be secured by protocols like NTS or MAC's or (let 
me say it anyway!) Autokey.