Debugging NTP


You want to debug and isolate NTP problems.


Use the show ntp association command to view the status of the configured NTP associations:

Router>show ntp associations 

Use the ping command to ensure connectivity to the NTP server exists:


Use the debug ntp packet command to view the NTP packets being generated by the router:

Router#debug ntp packets 

NTP packets debugging is on.


If the router's internal clock is incorrect and the router has NTP enabled, then the first step is check the status of the NTP associations:

Router>show ntp associations

 address ref clock st when poll reach delay offset disp
 ~ 16 - 64 0 0.0 0.00 16000.
 ~ 2 60 64 0 27.6 -1100. 16000.
 * master (synced), # master (unsynced), + selected, - candidate, ~ configured

Notice that there are two NTP associations configured on this router, but neither is currently our synchronized master. The example also indicates that neither of the two NTP associations is currently reachable, since the "reach" statistic is zero.

The most obvious place to begin is to test connectivity. You can test connectivity from the router to its NTP association with the ping command. If the NTP association does not respond to the ping request, then a network path may be obstructed or the peer may be down. Isolate and fix the connectivity issues, and hopefully this will rectify the NTP problem. Note that access control lists between the router and its NTP peer may prevent ping traffic from passing, but allow NTP, or vice versa:


Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds:
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 1/2/4 ms

This shows that at least one of the configured NTP associations is reachable, so the problem might be NTP specific, and it is unlikely to be a connectivity issue. Recall that earlier in the chapter we mentioned that an NTP client never synchronizes its clock to an unsynchronized server. To ensure that the NTP server is stable, you can either log in to the server device to check it or, if you do not have administrative access, you can use the router's debug facility:

Router#debug ntp packet
NTP packets debugging is on
.Mar 21 02:39:18: NTP: xmit packet to
.Mar 21 02:39:18: leap 3, mode 3, version 3, stratum 0, ppoll 64
.Mar 21 02:39:18: rtdel 28C7 (159.286), rtdsp 2444 (141.663), refid AC190101 
.Mar 21 02:39:18: ref C043C43F.47A9CD5C (21:30:23.279 EST Wed Mar 20 2003)
.Mar 21 02:39:18: org 00000000.00000000 (19:00:00.000 EST Thu Dec 31 1899)
.Mar 21 02:39:18: rec 00000000.00000000 (19:00:00.000 EST Thu Dec 31 1899)
.Mar 21 02:39:18: xmt C043C656.4DFC7394 (21:39:18.304 EST Wed Mar 20 2003)
.Mar 21 02:39:25: NTP: rcv packet from to on Fa0/0.1:
.Mar 21 02:39:25: leap 3, mode 3, version 3, stratum 0, ppoll 64
.Mar 21 02:39:25: rtdel 286E (157.928), rtdsp 0EC6 (57.709), refid AC190101 
.Mar 21 02:39:25: ref C043C4D7.1D633CDE (21:32:55.114 EST Wed Mar 20 2003)
.Mar 21 02:39:25: org 00000000.00000000 (19:00:00.000 EST Thu Dec 31 1899)
.Mar 21 02:39:25: rec 00000000.00000000 (19:00:00.000 EST Thu Dec 31 1899)
.Mar 21 02:39:25: xmt C043C65D.1D0A6CBC (21:39:25.113 EST Wed Mar 20 2003)
.Mar 21 02:39:25: inp C043C65D.1296E3C7 (21:39:25.072 EST Wed Mar 20 2003)

The output above shows a debug trace of NTP packets. The first packet captured is an active NTP poll from the local router to its NTP server, The second packet captured is the passive response from the NTP server, and its current stratum level is set to zero. A zero Stratum level reported by the server means that it is currently not synchronized. If the server is not synchronized, then our router can't use it. The process of debugging the NTP problem can now shift to the NTP server.

NTP is remarkably stable. Typically, when there are problems, they are related to connectivity: a box has failed, a path has become unreachable or an access-list has prevented NTP from communicating. As we have discussed above, upstream problems affect downstream NTP associations, since nothing will synchronize to an unsynchronized server. This means that NTP issues must be isolated one hop at a time.

Router Configuration and File Management

Router Management

User Access and Privilege Levels


IP Routing





Frame Relay

Handling Queuing and Congestion

Tunnels and VPNs

Dial Backup

NTP and Time


Router Interfaces and Media

Simple Network Management Protocol





First Hop Redundancy Protocols

IP Multicast

IP Mobility




Appendix 1. External Software Packages

Appendix 2. IP Precedence, TOS, and DSCP Classifications


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Cisco IOS Cookbook
Cisco IOS Cookbook (Cookbooks (OReilly))
ISBN: 0596527225
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 505
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