Internet statistics facts and figures
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Internet Statistics – Facts and Figures. 1 st Tutorial Session for CEG3180B January 18 th , 2005. First things first: Internet?. Probably the most used example when it comes to Wide Area Networks (WANs) Originally a DoD project [1], it has become the most widely used public internetwork

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Internet Statistics – Facts and Figures

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Internet statistics facts and figures

Internet Statistics – Facts and Figures

1st Tutorial Session for CEG3180B

January 18th, 2005


First things first internet

First things first: Internet?

  • Probably the most used example when it comes to Wide Area Networks (WANs)

  • Originally a DoD project [1], it has become the most widely used public internetwork

  • It is the most technologically heterogeneous network ever to exist, short for one aspect: TCP/IP


Why internet statistics

Why Internet Statistics?

  • Question: Why would we be interested in the Internet host count trends?

  • Several pertinent answers:

    • Curiosity 

    • Bandwidth consumption (i.e., traffic) forecasting

    • Address space usage forecasting

    • … etc.


Well how many are they

Well, how many are they?

  • How many what?

    • Hosts

    • Originally, a host was a single computer on the network

    • With the introduction of virtual hosts, however, a single computer could represent more than one host

    • So… should we count virtual hosts too or not?

  • According to the ISC, in June 2004 there were about 300 million hosts in the Internet


What does this survey tell us

What does this survey tell us?

  • Basically, that the number of hosts in the Internet is growing exponentially:

  • This means that the “Internet population” doubles approximately…

  • … every 15 months!


How does the survey work

How does the survey work?

  • It is a Domain Name System (DNS) [3] survey

  • What is the Domain Name System?

    • A hierarchical (i.e., similar to the postal address system) way to name hosts in order to set a correspondence between domain names and IP [4] addresses

    • Top-level domains: .com, .net, .edu, .mil, .gov, .org, .int (and the more recent .biz, .info, .to etc.) and the country top-level domains

    • Second-level domains: usually (but not always) organizations

    • E.g., www.uottawa.ca means ‘the web server’ (www) ‘of the University of Ottawa’ (uottawa) ‘which is in Canada’ (ca)


How does the survey work 2

How does the survey work? (2)

  • Two methods:

    • Walking the domain name tree and doing zone transfers of domain data in order to discover hosts and further subdomains (original method, used until 1997)

    • Walking the reverse delegation zones (i.e., in-addr.arpa) and counting all addresses that have been assigned a domain name (new method, used since 1998)


Is the survey accurate

Is the survey accurate?

  • Question: How far can we trust these results?

  • Answer: They will have to do it.

  • Neither of the two survey methods is free of errors – it is virtually impossible to know the exact number of hosts in the internet

  • However, a good approximation should be sufficient


Is the survey accurate 2

Is the survey accurate? (2)

  • Reasons for the surveys not being able to provide error-free results:

    • Many DNS servers do not allow for whole zone transfers

    • Not all hosts are registered in a domain name server

    • Poorly configured DNS servers can lead to bogus entries

    • Just because a hostname is assigned an IP address or vice-versa, does not mean that the host actually exists

    • Poor connectivity can pose difficulties to the data collection process


Interesting facts

Interesting facts

  • What has the number of hosts in a certain country to do with its economic status?

  • More .net hosts than .com hosts – does this mean that there are more hosts for “infrastructure” than for “services”?

  • The top 2 host names: ~ 1 million www, ~ 400k mail

  • Canada has about 3.5 million hosts in 21k domains


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • The “Internet population” is growing at an exponentially rate

  • Keeping track of the number of hosts in the Internet is important, for several reasons

  • However, an extremely accurate counting is virtually impossible


References

References

  • http://www.isoc.org/internet/history

  • http://www.isc.org/ds

  • P. V. Mockapetris, STD0013/RFC1034: Domain names – concepts and facilities

  • J. Postel, STD0005/RFC0791: Internet Protocol

  • S. Deering, R. Hinden, RFC2460: Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) Specification


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