I'm new to networking in general, and have only a vague understanding of network topologies.

Looking at the RIPE Atlas info video, it would seem that any user can install a probe and that then gets registered on some kind of RIPE Atlas system?

What kind of 'users' does RIPE atlas refer to in this case? If I were to install a probe on my home network, my understanding is this probe could be used to gather reliable info on my home (local) network, but that it couldn't be directly contacted via RIPE?

If 'users' referred to ISPs, then my understanding is that such a probe could be used to measure the network provided by the ISP - so the probe has a public address, since that could be provided by the ISP (but I'm not sure on this... please let me know if I'm wrong).

Question: Do RIPE Atlas probes require a public IP address? if not, say for example, they polled some data center on a regular interval, then how can RIPE be certain which network is being measured?

  • It's best to have a public. non-NAT'd address, but it'll work behind NAT, and can even work behind a firewall but that's likely to interfere with measurements. – Ricky Aug 17 '18 at 15:49

Technically the probe require only an Internet access, so if you connect it in your home network it will work.

But is the RIPE interested in having a probe at your location is another question.

From the Become a RIPE Atlas Probe Host page (emphasis mine):

Hosting a RIPE Atlas probe is easy. Create a RIPE NCC Access account and apply for a probe - we'll evaluate your request to determine whether the RIPE Atlas network would benefit from having you host a probe, depending on your location, and let you know if your application has been approved.* If your application is approved, we'll send you a probe. Then you just need to register it online and plug it in. Your probe will automatically start performing measurements and you'll start earning credits you can use to perform your own customised measurements.

You may also want to review the RIPE Atlas Service Terms and Conditions.

  • "home networks" are a valid point for many tests. For example, how do you think cloudflare's DNS crap has been tested? – Ricky Aug 17 '18 at 15:50
  • sorry, could you elaborate @RickyBeam? I'm not sure what you mean... What about the address? I don't think I've ever come across that as a thing before – Zach Smith Aug 20 '18 at 6:50
  • Residential ("eyeball") networks are a major part of the internet. One often needs to be able to see from those types of networks. As such, you want probes behind the ISP provided hardware. – Ricky Aug 20 '18 at 15:42
  • @RickyBeam fair enough, I edited to remove my last sentence. – JFL Aug 20 '18 at 17:05

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