John Heidemann / Papers / Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet

Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet
Hang Guo and John Heidemann


Hang Guo and John Heidemann. Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet. Proceedings of the Passive and Active Measurement Workshop (Berlin, Germany, Mar. 2018), to appear. [PDF] [alt PDF]


ICMP active probing is the center of many network measurements. Rate limiting to ICMP traffic, if undetected, could distort measurements and create false conclusions. To settle this concern, we look systematically for ICMP rate limiting in the Internet. We create FADER, a new algorithm that can identify rate limiting from user-side traces with minimal new measurement traffic. We validate the accuracy of FADER with many different network configurations in testbed experiments and show that it almost always detects rate limiting. With this confidence, we apply our algorithm to a random sample of the whole Internet, showing that rate limiting exists but that for slow probing rates, rate-limiting is very rare. For our random sample of 40,493 /24 blocks (about 2% of the responsive space), we confirm 6 blocks (0.02%!) see rate limiting at 0.39 packets/s per block. We look at higher rates in public datasets and suggest that fall-off in responses as rates approach 1 packet/s per /24 block is consistent with rate limiting. We also show that even very slow probing (0.0001 packet/s) can encounter rate limiting of NACKs that are concentrated at a single router near the prober.

Bibtex Citation

  author = {Guo, Hang and Heidemann, John},
  title = {Detecting {ICMP} Rate Limiting in the {Internet}},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the  Passive and Active Measurement Workshop},
  year = {2018},
  sortdate = {2018-03-26},
  project = {ant, retrofuturebridge, lacrend},
  jsubject = {topology_modeling},
  pages = {to appear},
  month = mar,
  address = {Berlin, Germany},
  publisher = {Springer},
  jlocation = {johnh: pafile},
  keywords = {icmp, rate limiting},
  url = {},
  pdfurl = {},
  blogurl = {}
Copyright © by John Heidemann