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Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis > publications : papers : 2015 : lost_in_space
Lost in Space: Improving Inference of IPv4 Address Space Utilization
A. Dainotti, K. Benson, A. King, B. Huffaker, E. Glatz, X. Dimitropoulos, P. Richter, A. Finamore, and A. Snoeren, "Lost in Space: Improving Inference of IPv4 Address Space Utilization", Tech. rep., Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), Sep 2015.

An earlier version of this technical report was published in 2014.

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Lost in Space: Improving Inference of IPv4 Address Space Utilization

Alberto Dainotti1
Karyn Benson1
Alistair King1
Bradley Huffaker1
Eduard Glatz2
Xenofontas Dimitropoulos3
Philipp Richter5
Alessandro Finamore4
Alex Snoeren6

CAIDA, San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California San Diego


ETH Zürich


Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas, Institute of Computer Science (FORTH-ICS)


Politecnico di Torino


TU Berlin


University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

One challenge in understanding the evolution of Internet infrastructure is the lack of systematic mechanisms for monitoring the extent to which allocated IP addresses are actually used. In this paper we try to advance the science of inferring IPv4 address space utilization by proposing a novel taxonomy and analyzing and correlating results obtained through different types of measurements. We have previously studied an approach based on passive measurements that can reveal used portions of the address space unseen by active approaches. In this paper, we study such passive approaches in detail, extending our methodology to new types of vantage points, identifying traffic components that most significantly contribute to discovering used IPv4 network blocks. We then combine the results we obtained through passive measurements together with data from active measurement studies, as well as measurements from BGP and additional datasets available to researchers. Through the analysis of this large collection of heterogeneous datasets, we substantially improve the state of the art in terms of: (i) understanding the challenges and opportunities in using passive and active techniques to study address utilization; and (ii) knowledge of the utilization of the IPv4 space.

Keywords: internet outages, measurement methodology, network telescope, passive data analysis, routing, security
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