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LINX Funds Internet Project

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8/19/2005

LONDON -- LINX (the London Internet Exchange) is to fund a research and development project at UCL (University College London). The project aims to improve the monitoring of Internet traffic - leading to possible improvements in Internet traffic management and, in turn, more reliable connections for Internet users.

The three year project is being jointly funded by LINX and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council via its Dorothy Hodgkins Postgraduate Scholarship Awards scheme.

It will be undertaken by researchers Kumardev Chatterjee and Dr Saleem Bhatti and will lead to development of improved real-time, distributed and secure traffic monitoring tools for Internet exchange points (IXPs) and Internet service providers (ISPs). Better monitoring will identify occurring or potential problems earlier than present systems, allowing network operators to take action to correct or prevent them.

Better monitoring systems could be used to enable systems which help with the early detection of distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks, manage the large scale effects of interaction between inter-domain and intra-domain routing, and improve congestion control and traffic engineering across the Internet as a whole.

The UCL team will initially monitor and measure Internet traffic flows at LINX. Saleem Bhatti said: "Only traffic data captured at key peering points will enable generation of an accurate model of the Internet's real-time routing flows. Monitoring traffic at LINX - one of the world's leading IXPs - gives UCL critical access to the real-time data needed for this project."

LINX connects the networks of around 180 ISPs and similar organisations through switches housed in six colocation facilities in London which are linked by dedicated fibre optic cables. Internet traffic at LINX is now over 84 gigabits per second at peak times.

John Souter, chief executive at LINX, said: "IXPs must ensure effective and reliable operation of their network infrastructure and they rely on software tools which allow them to monitor network traffic as part of wider network management systems. At present, each IXP uses a different monitoring system, designed for or adapted to its own requirements.

"It would be beneficial if IXPs could exchange information and monitor each other's traffic using a common set of tools. A larger user community would enable the tools to be more sophisticated, more reliable and more robust.

"Although this is a three year project we hope to get some initial results quite quickly. Benefits will then feed through as we begin to develop the ideas that arise from having the monitoring framework in place.

"For example, ISPs which peer at LINX will be able to specify monitoring tools, run at LINX, which will give them an external view of their networks. They will be able to see the operation of their networks in a way which they cannot do when looking from within. This will help them to manage their networks more effectively."

The London Internet Exchange Ltd. (LINX)

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