Rocketfuel University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering
 Rocketfuel: An ISP Topology Mapping Engine
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  Tom Anderson
  Ratul Mahajan
  Neil Spring
  David Wetherall


Rocketfuel is our ISP toplogy mapping engine. We use routing information to focus our efforts on an ISP at a time, then use ISP specific router naming conventions to understand the topology. We also use an innovative alias resolution technique to find which IP addresses represent interfaces on the same router.

Traceroutes were sourced from 800 vantage points hosted by nearly 300 traceroute web servers. We started by mapping 10 ISPs, in Europe, Australia and the United States. In that process, we constructed a database of over 50 thousand IP addresses representing 45 thousand routers in 537 POPs connected by 80 thousand links. For the ISPs we studied, we believe we have the most detailed maps available, except for the ISP's own.


  • Measuring ISP Topologies with Rocketfuel.
    Neil Spring, Ratul Mahajan, and David Wetherall. SIGCOMM 2002. ps pdf
  • Inferring Link Weights using End-to-End Measurements.
    Ratul Mahajan, Neil Spring, David Wetherall, and Tom Anderson. IMW 2002. ps pdf
  • Quantifying the Causes of Path Inflation
    Neil Spring, Ratul Mahajan, and Thomas Anderson. SIGCOMM 2003. ps pdf



Browse the maps (SIGCOMM 2002).


Software and Tools

Ally, the alias resolver. This software is now unmaintained; the supported implementation of ally is now part of Scriptroute.

Undns, our router hostname-to-location decoder is now maintained as a component of Scriptroute. Thanks to CAIDA and Lakshmi Subramanian for providing seed data.

Mailing List

The rocketfuel mailing list exists to facilitate exchanges between users and developers of the rocketfuel mapping system. You can send mail to {ratul,nspring} if you want to contact us directly.


Why Rocketfuel?

Folks often ask what the name means. Mostly, it's the name of the poor machine we enslaved to execute most of our traces and remote queries. We started using a second machine named "bogus" when we ran into file descriptor and process limits, but no one suggested we name our project "bogus." Rocketfuel's machine name comes from the 1997 NewsRadio episode "Office Feud," in which Bill McNeal, played by Phil Hartman, reads voiceover advertisements for Rocketfuel malt liquor. Interestingly enough, Rocketfuel vodka is sold in the UK.

Our logo

Our logo was conceived and drawn by Ken Yasuhara. Yes, we know that rockets are rarely powered by gasoline.

CSE logo Department of Computer Science & Engineering
University of Washington
Box 352350
Seattle, WA  98195-2350
[comments to Neil Spring]