Linux kernel patch for TCP timestamping

| Linux | patch | TCP

Recently I needed to measure the time it takes a packet to travel though the Linux network stack. To begin with I thought I’ll hack the kernel to add my own timing measurements, but then I found this was already built in! I could use the SIOCGSTAMP or SIOCGSTAMPNS ioctl calls to retrieve the timestamp assigned by the network driver when the packet first enters the stack.

struct timeval tv = {0,0};
if ( ioctl(s, SIOCGSTAMP, &tv) )
   return 0; // error
printf( "%ld seconds and %ld nanoseconds",  tv.tv_sec,  tv.tv_usec );

This works great for UDP packets or RAW sockets, but does not work for TCP. There are many good reasons why TCP isn’t supported, mainly because TCP is a stream protocol, whereas UDP and RAW sockets typically operate on discrete packets.

Ignoring this fact I decided to hack the kernel anyway to record the timestamps for TCP. It is a simple patch which hopefully others might find useful if they ever need to profile the TCP stack. It applys cleanly to 2.6.24 kernels.

--- a/linux-2.6.24/net/ipv4/tcp.c	2008-01-24 22:58:37.000000000 +0000
+++ b/linux-2.6.24/net/ipv4/tcp.c	2008-02-11 19:40:41.000000000 +0000
@@ -1180,6 +1180,10 @@
 		/* Next get a buffer. */
 		skb = skb_peek(&sk->sk_receive_queue);
+		if (skb)
+			sock_recv_timestamp(msg, sk, skb); /* HACK */
 		do {
 			if (!skb)
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