CAIDA’s Annual Report for 2013

June 3rd, 2014 by kc

[Executive Summary from our annual report for 2013:]

This annual report covers CAIDA’s activities in 2013, summarizing highlights from our research, infrastructure, data-sharing and outreach activities. Our research projects span Internet topology, routing, traffic, security and stability, future Internet architecture, economics and policy. Our infrastructure activities support measurement-based Internet studies, both at CAIDA and around the world, with focus on the health and integrity of the global Internet ecosystem.

We collect and share the largest Internet topology data sets (IPv4 and IPv6) available to academic researchers. We also curate and share many aggregated derivative data sets, including rankings of ISPs by customer cone based on (our inferred) business relationships between autonomous networks. Applying our improved alias resolution techniques for mapping IP addresses to physical routers, we collected, analyzed, curated and released our sixth published Internet Topology Data Kit (ITDK), which curated measurements taken in April 2013. We also completed redesigning our AS relationship inference algorithm, and assembled the largest source of validation data for AS-relationship inferences to date. On the theoretical side, we discovered some additional insights into the structural dynamics of large-scale graphs that could support mathematically rigorous models of evolving complex networks.

We continued our involvement in the Named Data Networking project, a 12-university collaboration exploring a generalization of the Internet architecture that allows naming not just the endpoints, i.e., source and destination IP addresses, but rather the data (content) itself. By naming data instead of locations, the new architecture transforms data into a first-class entity while addressing several known technical challenges of today’s Internet, including routing scalability, network security, content protection and privacy. We participated in NDN routing research, testbed operations, management duties, and provided web site support.

We also continued our empirical study of a more immediate architectural transition of the Internet — to IPv6. To support IPv6 topology and performance analysis, in 2013 we developed, tested, and validated new methods to perform IPv6 address alias resolution at scale. We looked at the IPv4 address block transfer “grey market” and tested various techniques to infer likely IP address ownership transfers from publicly available data. We began a comparative analysis of BGP update churn in the IPv4 and IPv6 routing systems, demonstrating that routing dynamics are qualitatively similar in both address apaces. Finally, we created new annual IPv4 and IPv6 AS core  visualizations using January 2013 raw Ark-based traceroute topology snapshots.

In the area of Internet security and stability, we are developing an operational capability to aggregate Internet measurement data from multiple available sources in order to detect, monitor, and characterize global connectivity disruptions due to political or catastrophic causes. We are also studying the volume, geographic origin, and characteristics of malicious and anomalous unsolicited traffic observed with  the UCSD Network Telescope, a large IPv4 (/8) darkspace monitor.

Our economics research seeks to understand the structure and dynamics of the Internet ecosystem from an economic perspective, capturing relevant interactions between network business relations, internetwork topology, routing policies, and resulting interdomain traffic flow. We used modeling and simulation of interdomain network formation and peering selection strategies to analyze aspects of provider behavior such as the gravitation of Internet transit providers toward open peering. We pursued several other related projects: characterizing the Internet peering ecosystem using PeeringDB data; analyzing the 95th percentile transit billing mechanism and possible alternatives; and developing measurable proxy metrics for ISP size.

In collaboration with MIT CSAIL, we undertook new policy research in 2013, aiming to develop a model of industry dynamics that captures two durable and persistent features of today’s telecommunications: the use of layered platforms to implement desired functionality; and interconnection between actors at different platform layers. We used multi-sided platform theory to explore several recent and impending industry innovations that have been naively conflated with the public Internet, and explored their differences.

We continued to support several measurement and data infrastructure projects. We made two infrastructure improvements to our active measurement infrastructure Ark. First, we enabled a web interface to request measurements from the Ark infrastructure. Second, we started a gradual transition from deploying Ark nodes as 1U PC hardware to using the credit-card sized Raspberry Pi devices instead. The much smaller form factor allowed us to substantially accelerate monitor deployment; by the end of 2013, we increased the number of vantage points to 79 Ark monitors (34 are IPv6-capable and 31 are Pi-based) deployed in 35 countries.

We also maintained our passive traffic collection system known as the UCSD Network Telescope, which monitors a large volume of unsolicited traffic arriving at a globally routed under-utilized /8 network. We released version 2.0 of Corsaro, a software suite for performing large-scale analysis of trace data. Although  designed for use with passive traces captured by darknets, users can apply this software to process any type of passive trace data.

We continued to support three community-oriented projects related to data sharing: (1) DHS’s Protected Repository for the Defense of Infrastructure Against Cyber Threats (PREDICT) to support protected sharing of security-related Internet data with researchers; (2) the Internet Measurement Data Catalog (DatCat), an index of information (metadata) about data sets and their availability under various usage policies; and (3) measurement guidance for the International Research Network Connections Program (IRNC).

Finally, as always, we engaged in a variety of tool development, and outreach activities, including web sites, 12 peer-reviewed papers, 4 technical and workshop reports, 28 presentations, 9 blog entries, 4 workshops, and a seminar series. Details of our activities are below. CAIDA’s program plan for 2010-2013 is available at We will be creating a new 4-year program plan in 2014. Please do not hesitate to send comments or questions to info at caida dot org.

Full annual report:

We are currently drafting a new program plan. Please do not hesitate to send comments or questions to info at caida dot org.

Leave a Reply