[ntp:questions] Windows time question.

DaveB g8kbv at uko2.co.uk
Tue May 3 09:43:43 UTC 2011

In article <iou44b$q9o$1 at dont-email.me>, david-
taylor at blueyonder.co.uk.invalid says...
> "Rob" <nomail at example.com> wrote in message 
> news:slrnir54hp.hnj.nomail at xs8.xs4all.nl...
> []
> > The initial question:
> > | Due to my wandering use of a laptop for, "work" (cough!)   Often away
> > | from the office, and our server, but with local internet access (Hotel
> > | WiFi etc).
> > |
> > | What UK based "RELIABLE" (cant emphasize that enough) UK time 
> > server(s)
> > | would the group recomend I point Windows time sync' to?
> >
> > and the subsequent discussion about the NTP pool and its reliability,
> > and how many servers from the pool one would resonably use to get good
> > results without overloading a voluntarily provided service, is a good
> > and valid discussion on its own.
> >
> > There is no need to pollute that discussion by talking about GPS 
> > receivers
> > yet again.  It is not a solution for the original poster, and it does
> > not contribute to the discussion about either of the topics brought up.
> >
> > You may be exited about your new GPS receiver toy, but there is no need
> > to recommend that hammer as the only tool one will ever need.  It isn't.
> .. and why shouldn't someone consider taking a GPS 18x LVC as a portable 
> time reference?

As the OP who started this (long and sometimes ammusing) thread...

I do carry a GPS receiver with me, but sadly not PPS capable, I use it 
for location determination/tracking/navigating etc.   Maybe I should 
include a GPS18 or 16 in the already bulging Laptop bag I lug arround.

In any case, with most hotel's now, you can't open the windows (the ones 
in the outside wall of the room, not the OS!) enough, to get anything 
sensible outside to get a decent view of the sky.   Many do not open at 
all, many are also now using "K Glass" that has a coating on it for 
thermal reasons, that appears to seriously attenuate GPS signals.

I have also encountered problems many times with GPS RX's used for 
"normal satnav" purposes in the vicinity of some hotels, due I suspect 
to the *Huge* ammount of EM crap that seems to radiate from such 
establishments these days, in many, you cant even listen to FM radio in 
your room, let alone AM (or Shortwave for WWV etc!)  So much for EMC 
regs eh?

Even mobile phone signals are heavily attenuated (or spoiled?) "in 
room", leaving only the expensive hotel wifi network (if it's working) 
as a comm's route out...   Not that mobile internet is any good for 
timekeeping!  I think from the latencies I sometime see, they use 
moonbounce to get back to base....

I have in one instance, had to use one of the "long range" BlueTooth 
adapters, to bt to a phone in the car, from a room (that luckily) 
overlooked the car park, to get any 'net conectivity.  Naff latency, but 
I got my work done!   I've also done the same trick, hoisting the phone 
some 50' up a mast in a plastic bag on a halyard (it was raining!) to 
get a signal on a remote customer site with no landline, then bt in 
remote sim mode to use the phone from the car!  And that was just for a 
voice call! 

As earlier, the problem was a clash of interests between XP's own 
W32Time, and the National Instruments time discoverer/server, foisted on 
me by an update to other software (from our principle) that blindly and 
stupidly updates ALL of the NI installed tools and utilities, causing 
other problems too, not just the lockups.

Now I've id'd the problem, I can work arround it.   But as earlier, the 
info about the pool servers and (perhaps) not needing the location tags 
was good to know, though from what else I read, it's debatable if it 
will work reliably and predicably in practice for a traveling laptop.

Thanks for the info and insight peeps.



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