Robert Kisteleki

REX - the Resource Explainer

Robert Kisteleki
6

The current version (v0.1) knows only about IPv4 address space. We went for the most difficult part first. ASNs and IPv6 address space will follow (please note the follow-up articles below describing additional functionality about the Resource Explainer).


Please also see: REX Supports IPv6 and REX Usage Report.

Our Resource Explainer, REX for short, is a one-stop-shop for almost all the information you ever wanted to know about Internet number resources. It provides you with an all-inclusive, detailed report about the resources you're interested in. It will provide you with current and historical information from a number of perspectives.  If you want to find out everything about an Internet number resource - REX is the service to try!

The current version (v0.1) knows only about IPv4 address space. We went for the most difficult part first. ASNs and IPv6 address space will follow.

If you're impatient and would like to jump to the tool immediately then go ahead, check it out now!  

 

What is REX?

REX provides you with information about different aspects of a resource:

  • Which RIR is responsible for it
  • Who is the holder of the resource
  • How it was routed on the public Internet
  • DNS and reverse DNS information
  • Network activity as seen by some Internet measurements
  • Relation to blacklists and spamlists
  • Geolocation

Whenever it makes sense, we also dive into more/less specific resources (and that's almost always the case). All of this information is provided for the current state, as well as how it changed over time.

 

What data is used for this?

In order to answer you all these questions, we're combining data from a wide set of input data sources from the RIPE NCC as well as other institutions. Of course, storing all the data needed for this, and quickly retrieving the relevant parts requires a very efficient and scalable storage mechanism - which we "luckily" happen to have: it's called INRDB, the Internet Number Resource Database.

In order to provide you with a comprehensive picture, many times we combine different data sources to come up with the appropriate explanation. 

 

Who can use the service?

Our goal is to provide this information for everyone who's interested in it. Having said that, we believe that we'll have different groups of users, interested in different key information about the resources: 

  • ISPs can use it to check out the state of resources for a couple of reasons
  • Our own IP Resource Analysts can use it to check the state of a resource before allocating it (which can come especially handy if/when resource transfers start to happen), or to assist with tracking the lifecycle of resources
  • Parties involved in a resource transfer (if/when it happens)
  • Law enforcement to easily gather information about abusers and such

In fact we are considering to make versions of the tool specific to each user group we can identify. These versions would not show different information, but arrange and present the information  in a way that is tailored to a specific use. Let us know how you use REX and how we can tailor it to your and your community's needs!

  

What's the point?

No matter which user group you belong to (if any), you yourself could make such a report about any resource. We're mostly using public databases, amended with our internal databases whenever it makes sense and causes no problems. But, it would take a lot of time, you'd have to consult many databases, some of which are pretty difficult to process and/or does not provide history. So we're in fact doing nothing that no one else could do - but man, it's useful, extensive and fast! So...

 

Check out REX now!

 

There are a number of examples in the comments section below. I you find something worth sharing using REX, please share it there.

 

Credits

Idea: René Wilhelm
Implementation: Bert Wijnen Emile Aben René Wilhelm Róbert Kisteleki
6

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About the author

I am the leader of the Research and Development team at the RIPE NCC leading a dedicated team of thinkers to support the RIPE community by providing network research, data analysis and prototype tool development and services including RIPE Atlas and RIPEstat.

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