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"which is the correct time" Topic

7 Posts

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333 hits since 8 Jul 2016
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Comments or corrections?

Last Hussar08 Jul 2016 9:49 a.m. PST

My phone is a second or so behind my computer. Which is more likely to be correct.

Zyphyr08 Jul 2016 10:17 a.m. PST

Assuming the computer has checked lately, it is more likely to be right – it will be getting its time data direct from one of the official sources while the phone will have at least one middleman system which is probably just sending it's own internal value, and who knows how long it has been since that system checked.

Of course, there aren't that many reasons for 1 or 2 seconds to matter.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member08 Jul 2016 11:23 a.m. PST
Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jul 2016 4:27 a.m. PST

Actually, unless you have specifically configured them to do otherwise, your phone and computer probably both have several "middle men" between them an one of the scientifically managed atomic clocks. Which one is more accurate is a function of what the "middle men" are and how you access them, which changes for both throughout the day.

I agree with Zyphyr that for most of what people do, a couple of seconds won't matter. If you're doing something where seconds (or divisions of seconds) matter, you want a heartbeat (a single known timing referent with specific known delays across the network), not a clock.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2016 6:25 a.m. PST

I have a clock which picks up the official transmitted time signal once each day it agrees with the phones (several peoples phones) and not with the computer which is 14 seconds faster.

I don't really know if this means much.


CeruLucifus10 Jul 2016 10:24 a.m. PST

If you are asking about a cellular phone, I would say the phone.

It is still common for computers to *not* be configured to check with a time server.

Cellular phones are typically configured to use the cell company's time server, and the timestamp is important to accurate cellular traffic and accurate billing, so the cell company has incentive to be accurate, or at least consistent across their own network.

If you are talking about a land line, then that phone may not be configured to use a time server (mine has the option but it doesn't work for my carrier). In that case I would probably trust the computer, especially if the owner set its clock from their cell phone. If not obvious, I refer to my cell phone when setting time on my house phones.

Last Hussar20 Jul 2016 4:39 p.m. PST

I checked against a number of internet sources, which differed by up to 2 seconds. I finally went with NIST ( This puts the computer at a fraction of a second slow.

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