Time Protocol

The TIME service is an Internet protocol defined in RFC 868. Its purpose is to provide a site-independent, machine readable date and time.

TIME can operate over either TCP or UDP. When operating over TCP, a host connects to a server that supports the TIME protocol on TCP port 37. The server then sends the time as a 32-bit unsigned binary number in network byte order representing a number of seconds since 00:00 (midnight) 1 January, 1900 GMT and closes the connection. The host receives the time and closes the connection.

When operating over UDP, the client sends a (typically empty) datagram to UDP port 37. The server responds with a single datagram of length 4 containing the time. There is no connection setup or teardown.

Time Protocol uses TCP/IP connection and has resolution of 1 second. This protocol limited by range from 0h 0m 0s UTC on January 1, 1900 to 6h 28m 16s UTC on 7 February 2036.

The TIME protocol has been superseded by the Network Time Protocol (NTP).


TIME protocol. (2007, November 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 22, 2007, from

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