On the Diversity, Stability and Symmetry of End-to-End Internet Routes

The diversity of end-to-end (e2e) Internet routes has been studied for over a decade, dating back to Paxson’s seminal work from 1995. This paper presents a measurement study of this issue and systematically evaluate the diversity of the Internet routes, while revisiting some of the conclusions previously made. Two large scale experiments are used for evaluation, one executed in late 2006 and the second in early 2009, both employ a set of more than 100 broadly distributed vantage points, actively measuring between each other.

We find that although e2e routes are quite diverse, they are relatively stable, albeit with high variance between different vantage points, with strong dependency on the network type (academic vs. commercial). We show that while routes are mostly asymmetric, at the country level, which serves as a good indication for end-to-end propagation delays, the routes are highly similar. Finally, longitudinal analysis shows consistency of the diversity and stability, indicating trade-offs between the Internet growth and changing trends in its connectivity.