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Making Our Network Clocks More Precise for the Metaverse

Everything you do online relies on multiple servers, sometimes spread across multiple locations, all keeping accurate and precise time with one another. If these servers are out of sync, it can lead to delays and errors, or even network failures. Improving synchronization can not only significantly improve performance, but also open up opportunities to create new products and services.

Today, we’re announcing that we’re deploying Precision Time Protocol (PTP) into our data center networks. PTP was introduced in 2002 and is a protocol for synchronizing the clocks on a computer. It offers a new level of timing accuracy and precision that will benefit all of our technologies — whether people are creating and watching Reels on Facebook and Instagram, sending and receiving messages and making audio/video calls on Messenger, playing and watching games on Facebook Gaming, or building and exploring Meta Horizon Worlds.

With PTP, the clocks within servers can be synchronized down to nanoseconds. We believe that PTP has the potential to enable synchronization of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) across data centers, which could open up unprecedented AI capabilities that are  difficult to achieve today. This level of accuracy will help ensure synchronization of not only the computers on our networks today, but also the advanced systems that will be on our networks in the future. We believe PTP will become the standard for keeping time in computer networks and will be a foundational component of the technologies that will drive the metaverse.

PTP has already been heavily supported by the telecom industry as networks transition to 5G connectivity. Even though the telecom industry has been using PTP for more than  a decade, data centers with massive facilities have been slow to adopt PTP  — until now. To help support industry adoption of PTP, we’ve open-sourced all the hardware and software we’ve designed to support PTP.

Learn more about how we’re deploying PTP.


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