World-wide pool traffic volume

TL;DR executive summary question: where is it all going?


I have been running half-dozen servers from one location and noticed that over the last year the traffic almost tripled and edging towards continuous 100kpps (100Mbps.)
They sent more than a trillion NTP packets since that location was set up in 2016.
During that time total number of servers in the pool has not increased.

This made me think about long-term future of this setup. There is no indication that the cost for renting the place will be coming down so I’d like to have a plan.

What is the overall roadmap for the next 5 years for time serving in general and ntp pool in particular?
Are we expecting something fundamental to happen to the network infrastructure that will make international NTP traffic drop or are we just tagging along?
Do we expect traffic per server to stay steady, grow or drop?

My servers are in EU, World and China zones so I am more interested in global trend for the whole world rather than some specific regional subtleties.



The amount of NTP traffic is indeed significant, and the traffic seems to be increasing.

My “pie in the sky” goal for NTP would consist of three steps:

  1. ISPs set up their own NTP servers
  2. ISPs start using DHCP option 42 to disseminate the NTP server information to their clients
  3. Devices use the NTP server information acquired via DHCP by default

Obviously the above won’t entirely eliminate the need for the pool, and these changes won’t happen overnight.

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In an ideal wishful thinking way along those lines, wouldn’t it give more benefit to have end user network equipment do this in the home?

Most ISPs just talk to a single device, right?

(And then there’s IPv6 without dhcp, typically).

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I can’t thank you enough for the charts Leo — they’re fascinating.

I suspect the growth in traffic is at least partly related to the increase in Cloud Computing, per IDC:

The public cloud IaaS market grew 51% in 2015. IDC expects this high growth to continue through 2016 and 2017 with a CAGR of more than 41%.

I’m hoping the growth levels off soon, but there’s no reaso to think it will.

On the plus side, at least cloud computing deployments usually use reasonable clients, and Amazon and Google are rolling out their own (leap smearing) NTP services.

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I have been working on finishing a new release of the DNS server. I relation to that I have been glancing a bit at query logs. I noticed what seemed like disproportionately many request for country/region specific zones from not-that country.

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