Networking optimize

Troubleshoot network time issues in Windows

A recent time-related glitch after Daylight Savings Time went into effect prompted Brad Bird to compile some tips about configuring time settings for your Windows network.

Recently, I woke up to find my network access was erratic. I was getting odd delays loading web pages and getting frequent disconnects. Being a proud geek, I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to the bottom of the problem. Since this was right after Daylight Savings Time went into effect, I had an inkling of what could be wrong.

When I know it is DST, either before bed or first thing in the morning, I go around the house and to the cars and reset all manual clocks. I am religious about it and my wife thinks I am crazy but I have actually missed work in the past for the time change so I make every effort to not be burnt again.

So, first, I checked my local computer. The time was correct.

In windows, a computer synchronizes its time using the Windows Time Service. To configure the Windows Time Service from a Windows 7 command prompt, type: w32tm

Here, you can see how the service is configured, you can add a time source, and you can make changes to the service itself.

To see how a computer is configured to resynchronize its time, right-click the clock in the System Tray area. Select Adjust date/time. (You will require elevated permissions/ Run As Administrator rights to do many of these tasks).

Click the Internet Time tab.

Select Synchronize With An Internet Time Server.

From here, you can select from a list of Internet time servers and click Update Now to synchronize.

If you want to add servers to the list or use a different server, using the Command Prompt is my preferred option.

Now, if your computers are in a network, they typically synchronize themselves from one computer. To see which computer is designated, use the net time command.  Now remember, the computer you are synchronizing from is a time source, but it also must be configured to get its time from somewhere else.

Okay, so in my network access case, my issue wasn't the local computer at all. My issue was my home wireless router. On my router, the time was off by 1 hour. It forgot to wind its clock back!

Usually, you can see the time on your router from a main dashboard when you log in or from the status page. I see mine on the dashboard when I log in:

In my case, I had taken the time to tell my router when the time changes happen since it allowed me to specify that, but it did not reset the time for some reason. A router reboot/power recycle took care of that.  Now my network access is back to its normal happy state.

I could also have configured my router with a time server or server list much like how we would do that in Windows.

Where I get the server names to give my router is http://support.ntp.org/bin/view/Servers/WebHome.

From this website, just click on Public NTP Pool Time Servers, and you'll have a list of servers to choose from. What I like about these pools is that the servers are configured in a fault tolerant fashion and are load balanced using DNS round robin.

If you want to learn more about NTP, go here: http://www.ntp.org/

About

Brad Bird is a lead technical consultant and MCT certified trainer based in Ottawa, ON. He works with large organizations, helping them architect, implement, configure, and customize System Center technologies, integrating them into their business pr...

0 comments