First electronic census of Internet’s 2.8 million addresses completed

November 14th, 2007 - 2:04 am ICT by admin  
The scientists say their results could help tackle the problem of the supply of unique Internet addresses running out.

John Heidemann and colleague Uri Pryadkin at the University of Southern California, US, sent probes - known as pings - over a period of 62 days - to each of the billions of unique IP addresses that make up the Internet.

IP addresses uniquely identify network devices on the Internet.

Due to security settings on some servers, about 61 percent of the pings received no response at all, and others received responses equivalent to “no comment”.

Millions of servers did respond, though, allowing Heidemann and Pryadkin to build an ‘atlas of the Internet’.

The atlas is numerical; each square of the atlas’s grid representing all the IP addresses starting with the same number.

Squares are in numerical order, but in a looping fractal pattern called a Hilbert Curve to keep adjacent addresses physically near each other.

Heidemann said this was the first attempt since 1982 to contact every single web address.

“To our knowledge, the only other census of the Internet was in 1982, when the Internet consisted of 315 allocated addresses,” he said.

Heidemann said, as the number of addresses provided by the current IP address system is estimated to run out in 2010, the atlas could help illustrate the need to speed up work on its replacement, or to map the spread of viruses through the Internet.

The team are now working on movies of Internet evolution, which could aid in detecting and monitoring trends, reports New Scientist magazine. (ANI)

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