Today, we are proud to announce a new website we’re calling the Internet Intelligence Map. This free site will help to democratize Internet analysis by exposing some of our internal capabilities to the general public in a single tool.
For over a decade, the members of Oracle’s Internet Intelligence team (first born as Renesys, more recently as Dyn Research, and now reborn with David Belson, former author of Akamai’s State of the Internet report) have helped to break some of the biggest stories about the Internet. From the Internet shutdowns of the Arab Spring to the impacts of the latest submarine cable cut, our continuing mission is to help inform the public by reporting on the technical underpinnings of the Internet and its intersection with, and impact on, geopolitics and e-Commerce.
And since major Internet outages (whether intentional or accidental) will be with us for the foreseeable future, we believe offering a self-serve capability for some of the insights we produce is a great way to move towards a healthier and more accountable Internet.
The website has two sections: Country Statistics and Traffic Shifts. The Country Statistics section reports any potential Internet disruptions seen during the previous 48 hours. Disruption severity is based on three primary measures of Internet connectivity in that country: BGP routes, traceroutes to responding hosts and DNS queries hitting our servers from that country.
The screenshot below illustrates how recent national Internet blackouts in Syria are depicted in the Internet Intelligence Map. Notably, while both BGP routes and traceroutes completing into Syria drop to zero during these blackouts, the number of DNS queries surges. This suggests the outage may be asymmetrical — packets can egress the country but cannot enter. We believe the spike in queries are due to additional DNS retries as queries go unanswered. Visualizations such as these will now be widely available to the public.
We can try to further understand the recent blackouts by analyzing Traffic Shifts, pictured below. Visualizations in the Traffic Shifts section may be a little less familiar to some viewers, so additional explanation is provided. As part of our Internet measurement infrastructure, we run hundreds of millions of traceroutes daily to all parts of the Internet from hundreds of measurement servers distributed around the world. In the bottom panel, we attempt to model how traffic reaches a target autonomous system (AS) by plotting the number of traceroutes that traverse a penultimate or ‘upstream’ AS as a function of time. Additionally, in the upper panel, we report the geometric mean of all observed latencies for traceroutes that traversed the target AS.
Below, we see which upstream traceroutes traversed to get to Syrian Telecom. The gaps in the colored stacked plot below correspond to the outages and the colors represent various transit providers for Syrian Telecom that we observe. PCCW (AS3491) appears to be the most commonly traversed AS and perhaps Tata (AS6453) is the least by traceroute volume.
An astute user of the website will notice that CYTA, one of Syrian Telecom’s transit providers also experienced traffic shifts that align with the blackouts (pictured below). When Syrian Telecom is down, CYTA loses its transit from Cogent. This is due to the fact that CYTA’s Cogent transit only handles traffic to Syria, something plainly evident in BGP routing.
We call these Traffic Shifts and color them blue on the map because they aren’t necessarily outages or connectivity impairments. They are simply changes — good, bad or neutral — in how traffic is being routed through the Internet. On any given day, there are hundreds of such shifts as ISPs change transit providers or re-engineer their networks. The tool enumerates the top one hundred shifts in the previous 48-hour period and allows our users to explore a macro-level connectivity picture for any given AS.
Take it for a test drive and let us know what you think!