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The Case Of The Negative Ping

Posted in Networking at Wednesday, June 06, 2007 12:29 AM W. Europe Daylight Time

Light Speed Recently I've got a new server that will host this blog an other web sites. I hope you'll experience a more stable and faster The Right Stuff since we're still having problems with our DSL line at home. Basically, the attenuation is way too big which causes the occassional disconnect resulting in weird error messages for you, Dear Reader. Downgrading to DSL 3000 wasn't an option until now because we wanted our web sites to be served as fast as possible. But this is all over now, at least for you, and we're just having problems with our internet connection dropping in the middle of a Skype call. Murphy's Law, that's nice.

Today, I was moving Torsten's blog over to the new server (we're sharing the machine and the bills) since I'm kinda of the dasBlog guy here – that's what you become when you've added a bunch of features.

After copying dasBlog's files to the the new machine, I was testing to see if Torsten has already updated the DNS record for the blogs.compactframework.de host and ran a ping on the server console. See what I got:

Ping wird ausgeführt für blogs.compactframework.de [85.25.130.52] mit 32 Bytes Daten:

Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit=-7ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit=-7ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit=-7ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit=-7ms TTL=128

Ping-Statistik für 85.25.130.52:
    Pakete: Gesendet = 4, Empfangen = 4, Verloren = 0 (0% Verlust),
Ca. Zeitangaben in Millisek.:
    Minimum = -7ms, Maximum = -7ms, Mittelwert = 1073741817ms

Negative ping times and an average roundtrip of 12 hours. Normally you would argue about slow ping times, but this one has been faster than the light. Google to the rescue! A little search revealed that this behaviour is caused by some weird timing issue with the AMD dual core CPU that's built into the server. Because Torsten is a strong advocate of AMD nitpicking on my Intel CPU all the time, I am glad to see that AMD isn't perfect. ;-)

Like this posts suggest one has to update the AMD CPU Windows driver (at the time of writing, it's the last but one download in the list). No big deal after all, but updating critical drivers over a Remote Desktop connection was kinda scary. Some minutes with a heavily-beating heart later, you get ping times you're used to:

Ping wird ausgeführt für blogs.compactframework.de [85.25.130.52] mit 32 Bytes Daten:

Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit<1ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit<1ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit<1ms TTL=128
Antwort von 85.25.130.52: Bytes=32 Zeit<1ms TTL=128

Ping-Statistik für 85.25.130.52:
    Pakete: Gesendet = 4, Empfangen = 4, Verloren = 0 (0% Verlust),
Ca. Zeitangaben in Millisek.:
    Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 0ms, Mittelwert = 0ms

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008 10:51:15 PM (W. Europe Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)
Hi, I'm using an AMD64 and I found out that DNS queries time out when the negative ping time effect occurs.
Martin
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