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Towards an Internet Traffic Map

Thomas Koch
Weifan Jiang
Tao Luo
Petros Gigis
Kevin Vermeulen
Emile Aben
Matt Calder
Ethan Katz-Bassett
Lefteris Manassakis
Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez
Georgios Smaragdakis

November 04, 2021

The impact of Internet phenomena depends on how they impact users, but researchers lack visibility into how to translate Internet events into their impact. Distressingly, the research community seems to have lost hope of obtaining this information without relying on privileged viewpoints. We argue for optimism thanks to new network measurement methods and changes in Internet structure which make it possible to construct an "Internet traffic map". This map would identify the locations of users and major services, the paths between them, and the relative activity levels routed along these paths. We sketch our vision for the map, detail new measurement ideas for map construction, and identify key challenges that the research community should tackle. The realization of an Internet traffic map will be an Internet-scale research effort with Internet-scale impacts that reach far beyond the research community, and so we hope our fellow researchers are excited to join us in addressing this challenge.