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Improving the discovery of IXP peering links through passive BGP measurements

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Abstract

The Internet Autonomous System (AS) topology has important implications on end-to-end routing, network economics and security. Despite the significance of the AS topology research, it has not been possible to collect a complete map of the AS interconnections due to the difficulties involved in discovering peering links. The problem of topology incompleteness is amplified by the increasing popularity of Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) and the 'flattening' AS hierarchy. A recent study discovered that the number of missing peering links at a single IXP is larger than the total number of the observable peering links. As a result a large body of research focuses on measurement techniques that can alleviate the incompleteness problem. Most of these proposals require the deployment of additional BGP vantage points and traceroute monitors. In this paper we propose a new measurement methodology for improving the discovery of missing peering links through the publicly available BGP data. Our approach utilizes the traffic engineering BGP Communities used by IXPs' Route Servers to implement multi-lateral peering agreements. We are able to discover 36K additional p2p links from 11 large IXPs. The discovered links are not only invisible in previous BGP-based AS topology collections, but also 97% of those links are invisible to traceroute data from CAIDA's Ark and DIMES projects for June 2012. The advantages of the proposed technique are threefold. First, it provides a new source of previously invisible p2p links. Second, it does not require changes in the existing measurement infrastructure. Finally, it offers a new source of policy data regarding multilateral peering links at IXPs.

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©2013 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.