The Remote Peering Jedi

November 11th, 2016 by Josh Polterock

During the RIPE 73 IXP Tools Hackathon, Vasileios Giotsas, working with collaborators at FORTH/University of Crete, AMS-IX, University College, London, and NFT Consult, created the Remote Peering Jedi Tool to provide a view into the remote peering ecosystem. Given a large and diverse corpus of traceroute data, the tool detects and localizes remote peering at Internet Exchange Points (IXP).

To make informed decisions, researchers and operators desire to know who has remote peering at the various IXPs. For their RIPE hackathon project, the group created a tool to automate the detection using average RTTs from the RIPE Atlas’ massive corpus of traceroute paths. The group collected validation data from boxes inside the three large IXPs to compare to RTTs estimated via Atlas. The data suggests possible opportunities for Content Distribution Networks (CDN) to improve services for smaller IXPs. The project results also offer insights into how to interpret some of the information in PeeringDB. The project further examined how presence-informed RTT geolocation can contribute to identifying the location of resources. These results help reduce the problem space by exploiting the fact that the IP space of a given AS can appear where the AS has presence.

For more details, you can watch Vasileios’ presentation of the Remote Peering Jedi Tool. Or, visit the remote peering portal to see the tool in action.


NANOG68: PERISCOPE: Standardizing and Orchestrating Looking Glass Querying

November 4th, 2016 by Vasileios Giotsas

CAIDA’s Vasileios Giotsas had the opportunity to present PERISCOPE: Standardizing and Orchestrating Looking Glass Querying to the folks at NANOG68. The presentation covered his work on the Periscope Looking Glass API.

The work sets out to unify the heterogenous thousands of autonomously operated Looking Glass (LG) servers into a single unified standardized API for querying and executing experiments across the collective resource as a whole. From the beginning, we understood that while the hosting networks make these services public, usage policies varied and many LG services request clients rate limit their queries or impose rate limits and some forbid automated queries entirely. We do our best with Periscope administration to respect LG resources and implement conservative client rate limiting enforcing a per-user and per-LG rate limits. We identify our clients to provide transparency and accountability.

We believe the Periscope architecture brings several primary benefits. The LG data complements our current trace data and extends the topology coverage. It allows us to implement intelligent load design across all LG servers, uses caching to reduce the number of redundant queries, and makes more efficient use of the LG resources as a whole. Finally, Periscope improves troubleshooting capabilities (often the reason for supporting these services in the first place).

A webcast of the NANOG68 Periscope presentation is available, as well as the accompanying slideset presented at NANOG68.

Full paper:
V. Giotsas, A. Dhamdhere, and k. claffy, “Periscope: Unifying Looking Glass Querying“, in Passive and Active Network Measurement Workshop (PAM), Mar 2016.

Periscope Architecture v1.0

Periscope Architecture v1.0

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Cyber Security Division (DHS S&T/CSD) and by Defence R&D Canada (DRDC).

Fantastic NSF PI meeting for Future Internet Architecture program

October 8th, 2016 by kc

I had the honor and pleasure of participating in a fantastic PI meeting last month — the National Science Foundation’s Future Internet Architecture (FIA) research program, 20-21 September 2014. As the formal FIA program winds down, NSF wants to maximize the opportunities for return on its investments into this program by helping connect principal investigators and researchers with other potential applied research and development funding sources. We are all well aware that, at least in the case of the NDN project (in which CAIDA participates), there are still huge open research challenges that will require years to conquer. But there are also tremendous opportunities to apply the ideas (and the code base) at this stage of the project’s evolution.

Much credit goes to John Wroclawski and Craig Partridge, who led the organization of this meeting. They arranged short presentations by seven federal agency representatives who outlined strategic interests of their agencies that were relevant to FIA technologies, and how to effectively engage those agencies: Stu Wagner (DARPA/I2O), Joe Evans (DARPA/STO), Mark Laurri (DARPA/MTO), Rich Carlson (DOE SC-ACSR), Dan Massey (DHS S&T), Kevin Thompson (NSF), and Doug Montgomery (NIST). They each provided a view of what their programs are, guidelines for how to propose ideas to their agency, links to recent funding opportunities, and answers to any questions we had.

This firehose-of-information session was followed by lunch and then breakouts to prepare pitches to friendly external respondents for feedback and discussion. Each respondent brought broad experience with non-NSF government funding across agencies and technical areas. The FIA researchers got some priceless preparation from some of the best and brightest in the federal funding community. The next challenge for FIA PIs is to convince some of them to participate in the next round of investment into FIA research ideas and technologies. Kudos to NSF and to John and Craig for great assistance with this goal.

CRA Congressional visit to Washington D.C.

September 27th, 2016 by kc

As part of a Computing Research Association (CRA) effort to introduce policymakers to the contributions and power of IT research for the nation and the world, this month I had the honor of visiting with the offices of four U.S. senators and a U.S. Representative:

Internet-specific topics I discussed included the importance of scientific measurement infrastructure to support empirical network and security research, broadband policy, and Internet governance.

We left them with a terrific infographic from the National Academy study “Continuing Innovation in Information Technology“, which shows the economic impact of different areas of fundamental IT research. The 2-pager flyer and the whole National Academy report, Depicting Innovation in Information Technology, is available on the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Computer Science Telecommunications Board (CSTB) site.
Continuing Innovation in Information Technology

Even with many folks in Congress having a higher priority of passing a budget and getting back home to their districts to prepare for elections, all the staffers were gracious and genuinely interested in our field. (Who wouldn’t be? 😉 )

Kudos to the Computing Research Association for providing a wonderful opportunity to engage with policy folks.

Adding geographic annotations to ISP interconnects

September 20th, 2016 by Bradley Huffaker
AS links  annotated geographic locations.

Geographic annotations on AS links.

The Internet arises from the interconnection of thousands of independently operated networks. Its structure is often modeled as a collection of Autonomous Systems (ASes), nodes, exchanging traffic across interconnects, links. These models are reductive by nature, with large international organizations made up of thousands of machines and cables reduced to a single node, and multiple exchange points reduced to a single link.

We extended this model with the introduction of geographic locations attached to links between ISPs, represented by ASes. This extension maintains the simple node and link structure of the AS graph, and allows us to capture some of the geographic complexity in the topology.

AS graphic with geographic locations.

AS graphic with geographic locations.

Consider the path from UCSD to U.Washington depicted in the illustration above. Level 3 has two possible paths: Level 3 ➡ Cogent ➡ U.Wash and Level 3 ➡ NTT ➡ U.Wash. Both paths have the same AS path length. Assuming Level 3 uses hot-potato routing, in order to spend as little money on carrying traffic as possible, it transfers the traffic as soon as possible onto another provider. In this example, NTT’s Los Angeles connection is closer to San Diego than Cogent’s Las Vegas connection, so Level 3 chooses to route the traffic through NTT.

AS links path

In addition to supporting research on path prediction, these type of geographic annotations of links can provide a more realistic indication of the network’s resilience to link failure. In the figure below, duplicate links between ASes reflect multiple interconnects between ASes. e.g., this figure implies that a single link failure would disconnect UCSD from Level 3, while three links would have to fail for Level 3 and NTT to become disconnected.

 Shows multiple links between ASes that connect in multiple locations.

Shows multiple links between ASes that connect in multiple locations.

Details on our geographic link annotation methods and this data is available at CAIDA’s AS Relationships with geographic annotations page.

NSF WATCH series talk: Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion

August 26th, 2016 by kc

Last week I gave a talk at NSF’s 39th Washington Area Trustworthy Computing Hour (WATCH) seminar series on CAIDA’s efforts to map internet interdomain congestion. A recorded webcast of the talk is available.


We used the Ark infrastructure to support an ambitious collaboration with MIT to map the rich mesh of interconnection in the Internet, with a focus on congestion induced by evolving peering and traffic management practices of CDNs and access ISPs, including methods to detect and localize the congestion to specific points in networks. We undertook several studies to pursue two dimensions of this challenge. First, we developed methods and tools to identify interconnection borders, and in some cases their physical locations, from comprehensive Internet topology measurements from many edge vantage points. Then, we developed and deployed scalable performance measurement tools to observe performance at thousands of interconnections, algorithms to mine for evidence of persistent congestion in the resulting data; and a system to visualize the results. We produce other related data collection and analysis to enable evaluation of these measurements in the larger context of the evolving ecosystem: quantifying a given network service providers’ global routing footprint; and business-related classifications of networks. In parallel, we examined the peering ecosystem from an economic perspective, exploring fundamental weaknesses and systemic problems of the currently deployed economic framework of Internet interconnection that will continue to cause peering disputes between ASes.

The slides presented are posted on the CAIDA website: Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion

CAIDA as Independent Measurement Expert for AT&T

August 18th, 2016 by kc

On August 6, 2016, AT&T sent a letter to the FCC regarding Applications of AT&T Inc. and DIRECTV for Consent To Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations, MB Docket No. 14-90 reporting that an amended version of CAIDA’s proposed methodology as an independent measurement expert of AT&T’s interconnection performance has been accepted by AT&T to address the concerns that AT&T had with the original proposed methodology.

The amended report, First Amended Report of AT&T Independent Measurement Expert: Reporting requirements and measurement methods is available online, along with the justification for the amendment.

CAIDA’s work with AT&T is found on CAIDA’s Measuring Internet Interconnection Performance Metrics page.

AIMS 2016 workshop report

August 1st, 2016 by kc

The final report for our 8th Workshop on Active Internet Measurements (AIMS-8) is available for viewing. The abstract:

Read the rest of this entry »

CAIDA’s 2015 Annual Report

July 19th, 2016 by kc

[Executive summary and link below]

The CAIDA annual report summarizes CAIDA’s activities for 2015, in the areas of research, infrastructure, data collection and analysis. Our research projects span Internet topology, routing, security, economics, future Internet architectures, and policy. Our infrastructure, software development, and data sharing activities support measurement-based internet research, both at CAIDA and around the world, with focus on the health and integrity of the global Internet ecosystem. The executive summary is excerpted below:

Mapping the Internet. We continued to pursue Internet cartography, improving our IPv4 and IPv6 topology mapping capabilities using our expanding and extensible Ark measurement infrastructure. We improved the accuracy and sophistication of our topology annotation capabilities, including classification of ISPs and their business relationships. Using our evolving IP address alias resolution measurement system, we collected curated, and released another Internet Topology Data Kit (ITDK).

Mapping Interconnection Connectivity and Congestion.
We used the Ark infrastructure to support an ambitious collaboration with MIT to map the rich mesh of interconnection in the Internet, with a focus on congestion induced by evolving peering and traffic management practices of CDNs and access ISPs, including methods to detect and localize the congestion to specific points in networks. We undertook several studies to pursue different dimensions of this challenge: identification of interconnection borders from comprehensive measurements of the global Internet topology; identification of the actual physical location (facility) of an interconnection in specific circumstances; and mapping observed evidence of congestion at points of interconnection. We continued producing other related data collection and analysis to enable evaluation of these measurements in the larger context of the evolving ecosystem: quantifying a given ISP’s global routing footprint; classification of autonomous systems (ASes) according to business type; and mapping ASes to their owning organizations. In parallel, we examined the peering ecosystem from an economic perspective, exploring fundamental weaknesses and systemic problems of the currently deployed economic framework of Internet interconnection that will continue to cause peering disputes between ASes.

Monitoring Global Internet Security and Stability. We conduct other global monitoring projects, which focus on security and stability aspects of the global Internet: traffic interception events (hijacks), macroscopic outages, and network filtering of spoofed packets. Each of these projects leverages the existing Ark infrastructure, but each has also required the development of new measurement and data aggregation and analysis tools and infrastructure, now at various stages of development. We were tremendously excited to finally finish and release BGPstream, a software framework for processing large amounts of historical and live BGP measurement data. BGPstream serves as one of several data analysis components of our outage-detection monitoring infrastructure, a prototype of which was operating at the end of the year. We published four other papers that either use or leverage the results of internet scanning and other unsolicited traffic to infer macroscopic properties of the Internet.

Future Internet Architectures. The current TCP/IP architecture is showing its age, and the slow uptake of its ostensible upgrade, IPv6, has inspired NSF and other research funding agencies around the world to invest in research on entirely new Internet architectures. We continue to help launch this moonshot from several angles — routing, security, testbed, management — while also pursuing and publishing results of six empirical studies of IPv6 deployment and evolution.

Public Policy. Our final research thrust is public policy, an area that expanded in 2015, due to requests from policymakers for empirical research results or guidance to inform industry tussles and telecommunication policies. Most notably, the FCC and AT&T selected CAIDA to be the Independent Measurement Expert in the context of the AT&T/DirecTV merger, which turned out to be as much of a challenge as it was an honor. We also published three position papers each aimed at optimizing different public policy outcomes in the face of a rapidly evolving information and communication technology landscape. We contributed to the development of frameworks for ethical assessment of Internet measurement research methods.

Our infrastructure operations activities also grew this year. We continued to operate active and passive measurement infrastructure with visibility into global Internet behavior, and associated software tools that facilitate network research and security vulnerability analysis. In addition to BGPstream, we expanded our infrastructure activities to include a client-server system for allowing measurement of compliance with BCP38 (ingress filtering best practices) across government, research, and commercial networks, and analysis of resulting data in support of compliance efforts. Our 2014 efforts to expand our data sharing efforts by making older topology and some traffic data sets public have dramatically increased use of our data, reflected in our data sharing statistics. In addition, we were happy to help launch DHS’ new IMPACT data sharing initiative toward the end of the year.

Finally, as always, we engaged in a variety of tool development, and outreach activities, including maintaining web sites, publishing 27 peer-reviewed papers, 3 technical reports, 3 workshop reports, 33 presentations, 14 blog entries, and hosting 5 workshops. This report summarizes the status of our activities; details about our research are available in papers, presentations, and interactive resources on our web sites. We also provide listings and links to software tools and data sets shared, and statistics reflecting their usage. sources. Finally, we offer a “CAIDA in numbers” section: statistics on our performance, financial reporting, and supporting resources, including visiting scholars and students, and all funding sources.

For the full 2015 annual report, see

NDN Next Phase Annual Report (2015-2016)

June 30th, 2016 by kc

The Named Data Networking project recently published the NDN-NP annual report covering activities from May 2015 through April 2016.).

V. Jacobson, J. Burke, L. Zhang, T. Abdelzaher, B. Zhang, k. claffy, P. Crowley, J. Halderman, C. Papadopoulos, and L. Wang, “Named Data Networking Next Phase (NDN-NP) Project May 2015 – April 2016 Annual Report”, Tech. rep., Named Data Networking (NDN), Jun 2016.

This report summarizes our accomplishments during the second year of the Named Data Networking Next Phase (NDN-NP) project (the 5th year of the overall project. This phase of the project focuses on deploying and evaluating the NDN architecture in four environments: building automation management systems, mobile health, multimedia real-time conferencing tools, and scientific data applications. Implementation and testing of pilot applications in these network environments further demonstrated our research progress in namespace design, trust management, and encryption-based access control. Highlights from this year include:

  1. Continued evolution the NDN Forwarding Daemon (NFD), to support application-driven experimentation with new NDN protocol features.
  2. Development of an Android version of NFD to promote NDN experimentation on mobile platforms.
  3. Implementation of a new transport protocol (InfoMax) that can intelligently filter streams of information in order to reduce transmitted data volume, while minimizing loss of information.
  4. A growing portfolio of supporting software libraries, including new APIs, transport mechanisms (Sync, information maximization), and security functionality, that leverage inherent capabilities of NDN, e.g., schematized trust, name-based access control.
  5. Demonstration of extremely scalable forwarding implementation using a billion synthetic names.
  6. Implementation and evaluation of hyperbolic routing
    performance to understand its feasibility in supporting NDN’s
    interdomain routing.

  7. Multi-faceted evaluation of the architecture, from
    instrumentation of applications on the testbed, to uses of ndnSIM and the Mini-NDN emulator environment.

  8. Continued uses of NDN in the four courses taught by principal investigators.
  9. The second annual NDN Community meeting hosted by the
    NDN Consortium to promote a vibrant open source ecosystem of
    research and experimentation around NDN.

The NDN team has made tremendous progress in the last five years, and a larger community of information-centric networking research has evolved in parallel. Our progress revealed the importance of demonstrating NDN capabilities in IoT and big data environments, and highlighted the need for accessible software platform support and emulation capabilities to facilitate R\&D on both the NDN architecture and applications that leverage it. We have received a year of supplement funding to complete four tasks: 1) completing and disseminating native NDN applications and associated design patterns, 2) demonstrating NDN scalability; 3) documenting and releasing reference implementations, and 4) documenting NDN design decisions and lessons learned.