Lia Hestina

Help Build a Bigger, Better RIPE Atlas

Lia Hestina
Contributors: Adonis Stergiopoulos, Robert Kisteleki, Johan ter Beest
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When it comes to RIPE Atlas, bigger is better. Each new probe adds another vantage point, bringing the measurement platform closer to its goal of providing an unprecedented view of the state of the Internet. But expansion into new geographical locations and networks wouldn't be possible without the support of RIPE Atlas sponsors.

Last year, we celebrated 10 years of RIPE Atlas. From hosts, ambassadors and sponsors to everyday users, there are thousands of people who have built RIPE Atlas together and form the vibrant community we see today.

We kicked off RIPE Atlas with the vision of becoming the world’s largest active Internet measurement platform, and we are still chasing this dream. The magic really lies in the fact that with each probe connected, each software probe installed, each network covered helps improve the service for all users.

The community drives RIPE Atlas, and your support is what keeps it non-commercial, open, and accessible to all. And we really want it to stay this way.

Building a Better Network

As of today, we have more than 11,100 probes spread out across 5,000+ ASNs (3,663 IPv4 and 1,624 IPv6) in 169 countries. That's a significant number, and certainly one high enough to ensure that for quite some time now RIPE Atlas has been providing all kinds of useful insights to researchers, network operator, and others out there looking to measure and better understand the state of the Internet. But of course, there are still plenty of networks to be covered, and we are always looking to encourage more operators and researchers to install probes and keep improving the reach and hence usefulness of the network.

While the RIPE NCC designs, maintains and operates the core RIPE Atlas infrastructure, it is the RIPE Atlas community that has always been responsible for its growth. We count on our amazing ambassadors to help us reach out to people, sharing their passion for RIPE Atlas, and distributing probes in different locations all over the world. We rely on hosts to keep those probes up and running. And, over the years, we've also looked to our sponsors to help us keep producing new probes so that we can keep on doing our best to keep up with an ever expanding Internet.

Since 2010, over 40 generous sponsors have helped fund the replacement of old probes and the distribution of new ones. Thanks to them:

  • More than 19,000 probes have been distributed since 2015
  • Hundreds of small companies have access to unique data to monitor and improve their network reachability, offering a better service for their clients
  • Students have conducted Internet related research that can be used to further develop the Internet infrastructure. To date, more than 80 academic research papers have been published using RIPE Atlas as a data source
  • The number of user defined measurements has been steadily increasing each year
  • Countless presentations and analyses took place using unique data from RIPE Atlas

And these are only some of the achievements we have accomplished over the years.

Call for Sponsors

We continue to receive plenty of applications from people looking to host RIPE Atlas hardware probes. What's more, we also need to keep making sure that existing hopes can get replacement probes as needed. We need your support to enable this.

Sponsorship helps us expand the RIPE Atlas network. The funding we receive will be used solely for the logistics of expanding RIPE Atlas. There are still many areas where probes are underrepresented, and our goal is to cover at least the top five ASNs from each of these underrepresented regions, and hopefully more. We aim to establish a better view of local Internet reachability and funding will further help us focus on getting the right amount of probes to the networks that are most useful to local users.

If you would like better visibility into particular networks, you can help make it happen!

What about Software Probes?

The funding we receive from sponsorship goes into the production and distribution of hardware probes. That said, as you might already know, RIPE Atlas probes have also been available in software form for a couple of years now. So why not focus on software probes and grow the network that way instead?

The reason is that, while the number of software probes out there is growing, you’ll always need a bit more technical know-how in order to install and troubleshoot them. Not everyone knows how to set up a virtual machine to install a software probe.

Hardware probes, on the other hand, are ‘plug-and-play’, meaning they can operate as soon as they’re out of the box, and are easy to install. They’re also tried and tested for long-term, constant and predictable performance.

In short, while software probes are a vital component of RIPE Atlas, we can’t rely on them alone. Being able to distribute physical devices that can be installed by just about anyone in a matter of minutes means that hardware probes will always be vital for building the network we want to build.

What’s In It For You?

If you become a RIPE Atlas sponsor, in addition to good karma for your network, you’ll also be able to choose where you would like to distribute probes. The number of probes you can distribute varies per sponsorship tier.

We offer our sponsors great visibility within the RIPE Atlas community, additional credits to run measurements and the freedom to choose where to place your probes. There are many tiers to choose from and here are some of the benefits:

  • Get new probes that you can distribute directly (subject to availability)
  • Get recognised as a sponsor for connected probes and earn RIPE Atlas credits
  • Choose a probe's country, city, ASN or ID (subject to availability)
  • Right to host multiple RIPE Atlas anchors beyond the standard limitations
  • Receive bonus RIPE Atlas sponsor credits
  • Promotion on social media, visibility on the RIPE Atlas website and more
  • Placement of your organisation’s logo on probes
  • RIPE Atlas t-shirts with your organisation’s logo

The ongoing support and collaboration, and the fact that many network operators and Internet users use it on a day-to-day basis, are the main ingredients that keep this project alive which is really inspiring.

In 2021, we have been looking at ways we can further improve RIPE Atlas. As mentioned, the operational aspect is covered by the RIPE NCC, but we do need sponsors to help us expand the network. For the past few months, we have been working on improving our sponsorship packages to offer more benefits, exposure and incentives. Thanks to our sponsors, we can keep distributing the RIPE Atlas hardware probes, free of charge, to remote locations across the globe.

That’s Not All!

Incentives are nice, but we believe the most important reason to sponsor RIPE Atlas is to keep this vibrant crowd-sourced measurements community going, and supporting a good cause. We want to make the Internet a more stable place for all and we really can’t do it without you. Together, let’s shape the future of the Internet!

Are You Ready to Sponsor RIPE Atlas?

Get in touch to become one of our first sponsors for 2021.

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