Understanding Block-level Address Usage in the Visible Internet (extended)

Cai, Xue and Heidemann, John
USC/Information Sciences Institute


Xue Cai and John Heidemann 2010. Understanding Block-level Address Usage in the Visible Internet (extended). Technical Report ISI-TR-2009-665. USC/Information Sciences Institute. [PDF]


Although the Internet is widely used today, we have little information about the edge of the network. Decentralized management, firewalls, and sensitivity to probing prevent easy answers and make measurement difficult. Building on frequent ICMP probing of 1% of the Internet address space, we develop clustering and analysis methods to estimate how Internet addresses are used. We show that adjacent addresses often have similar characteristics and are used for similar purposes (61% of addresses we probe are consistent blocks of 64 neighbors or more). We then apply this block-level clustering to provide data to explore several open questions in how networks are managed. First, we provide information about how effectively network address blocks appear to be used, finding that a significant number of blocks are only lightly used (most addresses in about one-fifth of /24 blocks are in use less than 10% of the time), an important issue as the IPv4 address space nears full allocation. Second, we provide new measurements about dynamically managed address space, showing nearly 40% of /24 blocks appear to be dynamically allocated, and dynamic addressing is most widely used in countries more recent to the Internet (more than 80% in China, while less than 30% in the U.S.). Third, we distinguish blocks with low-bitrate last-hops and show that such blocks are often underutilized.


  author = {Cai, Xue and Heidemann, John},
  title = {Understanding Block-level Address Usage
           in the Visible {Internet} (extended)},
  institution = {USC/Information Sciences Institute},
  year = {2010},
  sortdate = {2010-06-01},
  project = {ant, amite, madcat},
  jsubject = {topology_modeling},
  number = {ISI-TR-2009-665},
  note = {This technical report extends the SIGCOMM 2010 paper
                    with three appendices with supporting details.},
  month = jun,
  jlocation = {johnh: pafile},
  keywords = {internet address scans, block classification},
  copyrightholder = {author},
  url = {https://ant.isi.edu/%7ejohnh/PAPERS/Cai10b.html},
  pdfurl = {https://ant.isi.edu/%7ejohnh/PAPERS/Cai10b.pdf},
  otherurl = {ftp://ftp.isi.edu/isi-pubs/tr-665.pdf},
  myorganization = {USC/Information Sciences Institute}