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Traceroute is the most widely used Internet diagnostic tool today. Network operators use it to help identify routing failures, path inflation, and router misconfigurations. Researchers use it to map the Internet, predict performance, geolocate routers, and classify the performance of ISPs. However, traceroute has long had a fundamental limitation that affects all these applications: it does not provide reverse path information. Although various public traceroute servers across the Internet provide some visibility, no general method exists for determining a reverse path from an arbitrary destination, without control of that destination.
In this work, we address this longstanding limitation by building a
reverse traceroute tool. Our tool provides the same information as
traceroute, but for the reverse path, and it works in the same case as
traceroute, when the user may lack control of the destination. Our
approach combines a number of ideas: source spoofing, IP timestamp and
record route options, and multiple vantage points. We deploy our
system on PlanetLab and compare reverse traceroute paths with
traceroutes issued from the destinations. In the median case our tool
finds 87% of the hops seen in a directly measured traceroute along the
same path. We then use our reverse traceroute system to study
previously unmeasurable aspects of the Internet: we uncover thousands
of peer-to-peer AS links invisible to current topology mapping
efforts, and we present a case study of how a content provider could
use our tool to troubleshoot poor path performance.
DemoTry out the public demo of our system at https://revtr.ccs.neu.edu/ .
AcknowledgementsGoogle, Cisco, and NSF partially funded this work. We are very appreciative of the support.
Computer Science & Engineering|
University of Washington
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