[ntp:questions] Extracting ntpq like information programmatically

Claudio Carbone erupter at libero.it
Sat Mar 30 15:21:50 UTC 2013

On 30/03/13 13:43, John Hasler wrote:
> BTW what kind of accuracy do you need and how quickly must your machines
> converge to it?  Ntpd may not be your best choice.  It's designed to
> synchronize always-on machines with relatively low drift rates over the
> Internet.

That depends entirely on the performance of the communication framework 
we are using.
Which is what I'm trying to measure.

You see I have these machines without an RTC so on startup they sync 
with the local time server (which is always on and always connected so 
it keeps itself synced with other servers).
We are using ROS (www.ros.org if anyone is familiar) which has its own 
comm layer above the TCP/IP stack, plus all the other fake-kernel stuff 
it uses to appear as a framework and provide functionalities as if any 
program were running on the same machine.

So I want to measure the overhead of all of this, and how much this 
overhead is affected by network type and network congestion (1 robot, 2 
robots, 3 robots, ethernet or wifi, etc), frequency of requests, number 
of open sockets... you get the picture.

Fact is the system was born for wired networks and loosely coupled 
systems (not real time).
We are evaluating its performance on wireless networks and semi-real 
time systems.
We have to get some numbers.

I'm open to suggestions as to how to meter these variables in this 

My main course of action was to create some control message paths so 
that they get affected the same as real message paths by varying 
conditions, and use these messages to gather data (essentially like a 
ping, but running inside the framework and possibly with daisy-chained 
stations in between). But that, as said before, would use local clock 
sources so I then thought that if I could know the accuracy of the clock 
I could also either augment the accuracy of the measure, or at least 
give a more accurate error figure about the measure.


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