Cannot reach time server - SBS 2003

Clapador used Ask the Experts™
For about a week my server (SBS 2003 Standard SP2) is unable to synchronize with an internet time server. Event log shows time server is unreachable. Windows Firewall is set to open UDP port 123 but an external port scanner reports UDP 123 is not reachable. The server is connected to the internet via a Netgear WPN824v3 router. Port forwarding is set by UPNP. The router shows UDP 123 is forwarded to my server. I even tried making my server a DMZ, with no luck.

The problem seems to have started when I turned off UPNP and configured my router's port forwarding manually to enable VPN. In manual mode, I was unable to forward port 123 as the router (wrongly) complained it conflicted with an existing rule. I did a factory reset of the router (hard reset with the reset button) and reconfigured with UPNP. Everything looks fine, but port 123 is still unreachable.

I tried various methods outlined here to force synchronization, but they fail with message that source is unreachable. I turned on Windows Firewall logging (in Group Policy) to report dropped packets, but so far there is no report.

I suspect it is a firewall or router issue, but I certainly can't find it.

An help would be greatly apreciated!

Thank you.
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I presume you can ping the ntp server?
Have you tried a different ntp server. is still aroound here in the UK and is quite good.
I don't think the router is at fault from what you have described. Have you tried running the INternet Connnection wizard?
Could it be you Security Software? Can you disable that temporaily?



Time is currently synchronizing again with for the first time in a week. I reran the Internet Connection Wizard several times, specifically adding UDP 123 to the list of ports to open (though I think it is open by default without having to add it). When prompted, I chose to have the server automatically update the router with UPNP. I did this several times before without success, but it seems to be working now so I am content not to understand why.

(For the record, I did not change the security software settings. I am using Symantec Endpoint Protection but not its firewall component.)

Thank you,


I think running the Internet Connection Wizard was the trick. I had run it before, but I had also been manually tinkering with the router's settings. I suspect the solution was to let the Wizard do its own thing.
Hi Gary,

I think you are right. SBS can be a little tricky once you start doing things away from the wizzards.
Anyway, glad I could help.


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