[ntp:questions] NTPv4 Peer Event Codes - secret decoder ring sought

Joseph Gwinn joegwinn at comcast.net
Wed Mar 17 03:30:53 UTC 2010

Well, we just brought NTPv4 up on some IBM AIX 5.3 machines.  Had to compile 
from source code on the target machines to get a daemon that didn't crash upon 
launch.  Anyway, the daemon appears to be happily working, and is happily 
generating loopstats and peerstats files.  So far so good.

The peerstats files contain a "Peer Status Word" field.  NTPv4 is documented in 
<http://www.eecis.udel.edu/~mills/ntp/html/index.html>, and NTPv4 peerstats 
files are documented in <http://www.eecis.udel.edu/~mills/ntp/html/monopt.html>.  
The note under the table defining peerstats record fields reads "The status 
field is encoded in hex format as described in Appendix B of the NTP 
specification RFC 1305".  (The draft RFC for NTPv4 is innocent of all such 
status information.)

Looking in section B.2.2 of RFC 1305 yields that the Peer Status Field has four 
subfields, the last (rightmost) one of which being the 4-bit Peer Event Code 
(page 57), which is defined for values between 0 and 5, and is "reserved" for 
values 6 to 15.

Well, I have been seeing two values of Peer Status, 9614 and 963a, both 
hexidecimal.  I understand 9614, but 963A is a mystery, as it implies a Peer 
Event Code of 10 (the "A" in the rightmost digit), which is undefined and 
reserved in RFC 1305.  

I would guess that NTPv4 has used some of the codes that were held in reserve in 
NTPv4, but where are these new codes formally defined?  This is most likely a 
general question, and I would hazard that this isn't the only place where NTPv4 
has outrun its documentation.


Joe Gwinn

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