RIPE Atlas: an Internet measurement network

Frederic Cambus February 02, 2012 [Networking]

I've been taking part in the RIPE Atlas community since a few weeks already, a project which aims to build the biggest Internet measurement network ever. By doing so, I'm now hosting a small probe (built around a Lantronix XPort Pro module) sent by the RIPE NCC which is doing round-the-clock reporting.

This is a picture of my setup, the probe is connected to an USB power adapter:

RIPE Atlas Setup

And here is a closer picture of the probe:

RIPE Atlas Probe

Basically, the probe is measuring round-trip time (RTT) to the each of the 13 root servers and also does "anycast instance discovery" measurements, which is precisely why I find this project particularly interesting. Put simply, it allows to know which instance of a given root server you end up querying; for example, when I query the K-root server, I end up connecting to the DENIC operated instance located in Frankfurt (Germany). The RIPE NCC produce publicly available maps using the collected metrics, which allow gravitational radius visualizations for each server instances. For reference, here is list of all root servers instances.

Unexpectedly, the probe is also a nice way to monitor my Internet connection, which according to this graph is pretty stable:

RIPE Atlas Uptime