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ntptrace - trace a chain of NTP servers back to the primary source

giffrom Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The rabbit knows the way back.

Last update: 20:19 UTC Monday, December 02, 2002


ntptrace [ -vdn ] [ -r retries ] [ -t timeout ] [ server ]


ntptrace determines where a given Network Time Protocol (NTP) server gets its time from, and follows the chain of NTP servers back to their master time source. If given no arguments, it starts with localhost. Here is an example of the output from ntptrace:

% ntptrace
localhost: stratum 4, offset 0.0019529, synch distance 0.144135 stratum 2, offset 0.0124263, synch distance 0.115784 stratum 1, offset 0.0019298, synch distance 0.011993, refid 'WWVB'

On each line, the fields are (left to right): the host name, the host stratum, the time offset between that host and the local host (as measured by ntptrace; this is why it is not always zero for "localhost"), the host synchronization distance, and (only for stratum-1 servers) the reference clock ID. All times are given in seconds. Note that the stratum is the server hop count to the primary source, while the synchronization distance is the estimated error relative to the primary source. These terms are precisely defined in RFC-1305.


Turns on some debugging output.
Turns off the printing of host names; instead, host IP addresses are given. This may be useful if a nameserver is down.
-r retries
Sets the number of retransmission attempts for each host (default = 5).
-t timeout
Sets the retransmission timeout (in seconds) (default = 2).
Prints verbose information about the NTP servers.


This program makes no attempt to improve accuracy by doing multiple samples.