All integer fields are carried in network byte order, that is, most significant byte (octet) first. This byte order is commonly known as big-endian. The transmission order is described in detail in . Unless otherwise noted, numeric constants are in decimal (base 10). All header data is aligned to its natural length, i.e., 16-bit fields are aligned on even offsets, 32-bit fields are aligned at offsets divisible by four, etc. Octets designated as padding have the value zero.
Wallclock time (absolute time) is represented using the timestamp format of the Network Time Protocol (NTP), which is in seconds relative to 0h UTC on 1 January 1900 . The full resolution NTP timestamp is a 64-bit unsigned fixed-point number with the integer part in the first 32 bits and the fractional part in the last 32 bits. In some fields where a more compact representation is appropriate, only the middle 32 bits are used; that is, the low 16 bits of the integer part and the high 16 bits of the fractional part. The high 16 bits of the integer part must be determined independently.