Introducing RIPE Atlas "Quick Look"

Robert Kisteleki — May 07, 2013 11:15 AM
We're proud to present a new RIPE Atlas feature to RIPE NCC members: Quick Look measurements. Members can use the RIPE Atlas measurement network for a quick, real-time assessment of connectivity. Just enter a destination and watch the results roll in!

Network operators often want to know how a particular issue they might be dealing with appears to external vantage points. A wider view of who out there can reach a destination can provide valuable insight about the extent of a situation, and help debug and fix real-world problems.

These cases require real-time access to a large number of vantage points. The exact locations of these vantage points aren't always relevant, as long as the spread is good enough and they respond quickly.

What is Quick Look?

Quick Look is a new RIPE Atlas function available to all RIPE NCC members. Quick Look is currently in beta, but fully functional. It allows single execution, on-the-spot network pings with fast response times, which provide visualised results right away. Members simply need to specify a measurement target - an IPv4 or IPv6 address or a hostname - and then watch as histograms and maps build in front of their eyes in real time as the results flow in. The system will assign 100 probes from across the RIPE Atlas network, out of a pool of 1,900 probes currently availabe for this (about 1,000 of the earliest probes cannot be used for these types of measurements due to hardware limitations).

The ping measurements themselves are based on regular RIPE Atlas user-defined measurements, so the resulting visualisations and collected data are available to any registered RIPE Atlas user.

Try out Quick Look now! (requires login with RIPE NCC Access account, as a RIPE NCC member).

Quick Look exampleExample of a RIPE Atlas Quick Look measurement result

Limitations

To start, this function is available to RIPE NCC members only. In order to reduce the threshold for members, it will not cost any credits, as do normal user-defined measurements do for RIPE Atlas hosts. Quick Look is intended for ad-hoc, interactive use. For regular and automated measurements including scripted one-off measurements, please use the standard user-defined measurements interface or the REST API.

The framework itself limits the amount of parallel Quick Look measurements that can run at a given time. We ask that you use this feature responsibly so that everyone has a fair chance to make use of it.

In the first version we support ping(6) measurements, but you can expect traceroute(6) and DNS queries to follow in the near future.

If you enter a hostname, the DNS resolution will use central DNS resolvers. This could lead to unexpected results for hostname targets that are mapped to different physical locations (for example hosts providing content delivery network (CDN)). To avoid this, you can specify a particular IP address or use user-defined measurements, which allow DNS resolution local to the probe.

Feedback

If you have any bug reports, comments or questions, you can leave a comment here or get in touch with us via one of our feedback channels:

  • Ask questions using the RIPE NCC's Live Chat service
  • Report a bug or problem: atlas-bugs [at] ripe [dot] net
  • Give direct feedback to Vesna Manojlovic, Senior Community Builder, at becha [at] ripe [dot] net or @Ms_Measurements (#RIPEAtlas)
  • Reach us on our dedicated RIPE Atlas Twitter account: @RIPE_Atlas
  • Subscribe to the RIPE Atlas mailing list for active users, which is also followed and answered by developers: ripe-atlas [at] ripe [dot] net

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