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Given a collection of switches all communicating together, will the local time on the switching equipment configuration have any bearing on performance, or just a common reference point when troubleshooting log files and diagnostics?

As it stands default configurations default to a 199x time on boot, and they are all in different time frames in relation to when last booted. Logically I will fix this, but will it change anything other than logging data?

Id est, if I configure all switches to a common NTP server, will it affect performance and or reliability in any form?

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The time on the real-time clock of a network device has no bearing on its functionality, except for certain instances like using ACLs that only take effect during specific time periods. Standard switching is not affected by the time set on a switch.

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Regarding your first question local time on certain switch or switching equipment won't affect any switching Performance. You may face this problem and in the devices which are multi homed to multiple controllers such as access points assigned to multi wireless controller so all of wireless controller must have same clock for access points management issues and so.

Regarding to your second question, if you didn't configure any time based configurations (time-based ACL , QOS , Routing , port shutdown) , changing time shouldn't affect any thing

Regarding to your third question , Use NTP server as a clock provider to you network (switches and routers and servers ...etc.) is the best practice to grantee unified network time and date ,some platforms have its time reset each time it is rebooting .

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