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1. When the function sntp_start_auto_time_sync() is called, there is an initial random delay which is required to prevent thundering herd scenario as per RFC4330. That should explain the initial delay of 15-30 seconds after bringing up the Wi-Fi network.
2. You can enable WPRINT_ENABLE_LIB_DEBUG in wiced_defaults.h to enable debug printing in sntp.c. SNTP basically utilizes UDP protocol which is unreliable by design due to lack of ACK. You can consider increasing the number of NTP attempts defined by MAX_NTP_ATTEMPTS to 6 and check if that reduces the frequency of your issue. You can also print out the return value of wiced_udp_receive(&socket, &packet, WICED_NTP_REPLY_TIMEOUT) to check the error code. Also the return value of wiced_time_get_utc_time( &utc_time ) should be checked so you can print out the return value of this function and check if it is non-zero.