[ntp:questions] strange behaviour of ntp peerstats entries.

Unruh unruh-spam at physics.ubc.ca
Thu Jan 24 08:49:47 UTC 2008

Having been testing ntp, I was looking at the peerstats file. Here is a
sequence of such measurements.

54489 29187.448 9414 0.005089025 0.016225398 0.067088246 0.001122070
54489 29269.446 9614 0.003231929 0.015419416 0.009606450 0.001005171
54489 29316.445 9414 0.005089025 0.016225398 0.067796410 0.000929591
54489 29396.445 9614 0.002083530 0.015706261 0.007395887 0.000386142
54489 29443.447 9414 0.005089025 0.016225398 0.067421760 0.001041993
54489 29523.443 9614 0.002083530 0.015706261 0.009098914 0.000252795

I thought that there was an entry in this file for each packet exchange
with the server. But notice the entries at 29396.445 and 29523.443 seconds.
The offsets are completely identical. There is no way that this could be
true if this were really the outcome of a measurement. There is just no way
that you would get two entries the same to 7 decimal places ( well, it is
really only 4 since the machines have a resolution of a microsecond). And
there are a number of these. This simply cannot be the offset as obtained
from a measurement. 
What do these entries mean? How can the two offsets be identical?

Note that I was watching successive output from ntpq -p at the same time.
and the "when" entry went from 122 to 34-- ie indicated that a measurement
was made-- and the offset did not change at all. Just before this in the
peerstats file there were 7 entries with identical offsets and identical
roudtrip delays.  What is happening here? What does the "offset" and
"roundtrip delay" mean if not the measured offset (t4-t3+t1-t2)/2 and
roundtrip (t4-t1) on each measurement?

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