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EtherCAT is a real-time Ethernet protocol conceived explicitly for industrial applications. It is characterized by high communication efficiency, which permits control loops to be closed with short cycle times, and is provided with a suitable mechanism, known as distributed clock (DC), that enables synchronized operations to take place across the controlled system. These features can be profitably adopted, for instance, to support motion control applications. In this paper, the performance of the DC mechanism is evaluated by means of a thorough campaign of experimental measurements carried out on a real network setup. A number of factors have been taken into account that can affect accuracy and precision, and their effects studied in depth.