distributed active measurements; reverse traceroute; Internet Paths' symmetry; RIPE Atlas Measurement Framework
[en] Traceroute is the most widely used Internet path analysis tool today to study the topology of the Internet and to diagnose routing failures as well as poor performance events. A major limitation of traceroute when the destination is not controllable by the user is its inability to measure reverse paths, i.e., the path from any given destination back to the source. This is a major drawback for ISPs, who need to understand the performance of the Internet paths connecting popular services (e.g., YouTube and Facebook) to their customers. Even if public servers and distributed measurement platforms can provide partial reverse path visibility through ad-hoc measurements, there is still a need for a structured approach capable of analyzing the performance of Internet paths connecting any pair of nodes (servers, routers, hosts, etc.). While the problem of reverse traceroute has been addressed in the past, proposed techniques rely on IP address spoofing – which might lead to security concerns, and assume the availability of certain route-tracking options –, which might not be available. In this paper, we introduce and evaluate DisNETPerf, a new tool which provides exactly the same type of information as traceroute, but for paths connecting arbitrarily selected nodes. DisNETPerf works by firstly locating probes (i.e., measurement points) that are the closest to a given target node, using them to perform traceroute measurements from the target point-of-view to a given destination for path performance monitoring and troubleshooting purposes. We propose two techniques for probe location, and demonstrate that the reverse path (from server to users) can be measured with very high accuracy in certain scenarios. We also analyze relevant characteristics of Internet paths and distributed measurement platforms, which reinforce the applicability and relevance of DisNETPerf in current Internet.
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