Meta Starts Syncing Server Clocks ‘Down to Nanoseconds’ for the Metaverse

Facebook parent company Meta Platforms today announced it is deploying Precision Time Protocol (PTP) across its data center networks to synchronize the clocks within its servers “down to nanoseconds” in preparation for the metaverse.

Everything a person does online requires the device they’re using to connect to and communicate with multiple servers over the internet. “If these servers are out of sync, it can lead to delays and errors, or even network failures,” said Meta. “Improving synchronization can not only significantly improve performance, but also open up opportunities to create new products and services.”

PTP, which first arrived on the scene in 2002, is a protocol for synchronizing the internal clocks on computers. With this protocol, the clocks within servers can be synchronized down to nanoseconds.

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.

What’s more, Meta believes PTP could make it possible to synchronize Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) across data centers. This could unlock unprecedented AI capabilities that are difficult to achieve today, the company said.

Meta added that PTP and the level of accuracy it offers will benefit not only the servers it is running today but the advanced systems it plans to add to its networks in the future as well. It will be “a foundational component of the technologies that will drive the metaverse.”

California-based Meta has had a rough year so far, so much so that it had to cut “thousands” of jobs earlier this month. The company’s stock has plummeted 67% year-to-date. Meta has been slashing budgets and entire projects left and right, but advancing its work on CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the metaverse remains a top priority.

Earlier today, Meta also announced new privacy settings for teens on Facebook and Instagram.