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RIPE Atlas - Pre-registration Open Now

Robert Kisteleki — Oct 2010
The launch date of our new active measurements network, RIPE Atlas, is close. We already received a lot of interest and offers to host such a probe. In this article, we explain some more details about how to participate in this effort.

 

Over the last few weeks, we presented our plans to build a new active measurements network, called RIPE Atlas. In earlier articles we described the underlying idea , the measurement probes we will use, the role of those hosting such probes and benefits for sponsors .

The launch date is close, and we already received a lot of interest and offers to host such a probe. Please find below some more details about how to participate in this effort.

Call for participation

At RIPE 61 Meeting in Rome we will start handing out about 200 measurement probes. We anticipate that many members of our community will be interested in hosting such a probe, either by representing an LIR or by acting as an individuals.

If you are interested to host a measurement probe, either in your network at home or at work, we would ask you to pre-register so that we can provide you with one or more probes.

During pre-registration, we will ask you some questions about the network the host will be located in: what type of connection will there be, how much  bandwidth, future geo-location as well as other network details. This data will help us to select the first candidates to host the probes. We are doing this, because initially we are aiming for a wide topological spread of the probes. As a second step, we are aiming at higher redundancy.

We expect that the demand will be higher than the original supply, so we cannot guarantee that all pre-registered users will get a probe. The more data we know about your potential hosting location, the higher the chances are that you'll receive a probe in the first round. We'll contact the selected candidates at or before the RIPE 61 Meeting.

Probe Location

In order to draw accurate geographical maps, we would like to know where the probe will be located as exactly as possible. So once the probe is online, we ask you to inform us at least to an accuracy of ± 5km, and preferably more precisely. For the pre-registration, we only ask to name the city or town where the probe will be installed.

Running 24/7

We have made the probe very small and power efficient so that you can leave it on for 24 hours, seven days per week. We'd like to know if you're willing to do so.

Pilot Service Rules

In order to contribute to RIPE Atlas as a host, you will receive one or more probes from us. Here are a few basic rules to clarify our mutual expectations. You must accept these in order to participate.

We:

  • We will deliver the probes to you in working order and make it possible for you to register yourself as a host for the probe.
  • We will provide a personal web page for you. You can use this page to register the probe, see the operational status of the probe and communicate with us and others in the RIPE Atlas community. Later on you will be able to request your own measurements and obtain the results of measurements.
  • We promise that the probes will not eavesdrop on any traffic on your network. In fact we prefer you to install them in a way that they cannot see any of your traffic (for instance you can put it behind a switch port).
  • We will try our best not to exceed your restrictions about the network bandwidth the probe can use (once this feature is implemented).
  • We will keep a record of all measurements taken by the probe and make it available to you.
  • We promise to be very careful when manufacturing the probe and its software. However we do not accept any liability for the correct operation of the probe or for any damage that may be caused by the probe.
  • We reserve the right to remotely disconnect a probe from the measurement network if we have reason to believe that it's malfunctioning, misbehaving or has been altered in its function.

You:

  • You promise to connect the probe to the Internet through a network on which you have permission to do so. If it is not your home network and you are in doubt, we suggest you obtain explicit permission.
  • You promise to leave the probe on as long as possible, in principle 24/7. You may disconnect the probe at any time and for any reason. If you disconnect the probe for more than a week, we ask that you notify us. If you disconnect the probe for more than six weeks we ask you to pass it on to another host. If you cannot find another host, please send it back to us. 
  • You promise not to interfere with the (measurement) traffic sent and received by the probe so that the measurements can be as accurate as possible.
  • You promise not to disassemble or reverse engineer the probe, and that you'll not tamper with it or harm it in any other way.

Technical details

The probe is powered by drawing current from a USB connection. This connection is not used for data transfer. Internet connectivity must be provided via a wired (RJ-45) Ethernet interface.

We would prefer the probe to have open access to the Internet as much as possible. At a minimum, the probe will need to receive a valid IP address through DHCP, and send and receive HTTPS, DNS, NTP and ICMP traffic.

The probe is designed to work behind NATs that are found in common home routers. Pilot probes will need an IPv4 connection and they will use IPv6 for measurements if available.

We expect that one of the most common deployment scenarios will be to plug the probe directly into an open port on your home router, or switch, via an Ethernet cable. In many cases, these devices have a USB port that is near by, so that powering the probe is also taken care of. If not, then a generic USB power adapter can be used.

More information and pre-registration

We would like to encourage you to go ahead and

Pre-register!

 
You can find more information about hosting a probe, and RIPE Atlas in general, on the RIPE Atlas Frequently Asked Questions page. You can also contact us at labs _at_ ripe _dot_ net .
 
 
 

2 Comments

Anonymous says:
23 Nov, 2010 12:17 PM
So, what to say?

Apart from personal sillyness and making (wrong) assumptions about logistics, a very smooth ride indeed!

I took the cute little thing back home from Rome and had it hooked up to power and to the 'net, close to our network's backbone. Added it to DHCP by way of its MAC to always receive the same IPv4-address.

It immediately made its first cry, already speaking IPv4 and IPv6 out of the box.

We then made it known to DNS and revDNS...

There still seem to be a few minor rough edges in the various user-interfaces (yes, it is a pilot!), which I will put forward to the probe-herders on the mailing list or even privately.

I'd appreciate guidance by the project coordinators regarding the "right" place to collect (and maybe discuss) these things? Please advise.

Finally, I'm looking forward to install my 2nd probe at home, hanging off a commercial "broad"(?)band DSL wire (and no NAT) ;-)
Anonymous says:
23 Nov, 2010 01:28 PM
I'm glad your probe "just works" :-)

The best place to discuss rough edges publicly is the mailing list: http://www.ripe.net/mailman/listinfo/ripe-atlas. If you'd rather discuss topics privately then you can send mail to atlas@ripe.net

Robert
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