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RIPE Atlas Probes

RIPE Atlas probes form the backbone of the RIPE Atlas infrastructure. Volunteers all over the world host these small hardware devices that actively measure Internet connectivity through ping, traceroute, DNS, SSL/TLS, NTP and HTTP measurements. This data is collected and aggregated by the RIPE NCC, which makes the data publicly available. Network operators, engineers, researchers and even home users have used this data for a wide range of purposes, from investigating network outages to DNS anycasting to testing IPv6 connectivity.

Hosting a Probe

Anyone can apply to host a RIPE Atlas probe. If your application is successful (based on your location), we will ship you a probe free of charge. Hosts simply need to plug their probe into their home (or other) network.

Probes are USB-powered and are connected to an Ethernet port on the host’s router or switch. They then automatically and continuously perform active measurements about the Internet’s connectivity, and this data is sent to the RIPE NCC, where it is aggregated and made publicly available. We also use this data to create several Internet maps and data visualisations.

Probe hosts earn credits for the time their probes remain connected, which they can use to perform their own customised measurements.

Bandwidth, Security and Other Frequently Asked Questions

Probes consume a very small amount of bandwidth – typically just a few Kb/s – and hosts can set an upper limit on the amount of bandwidth their probe uses.

Probes don’t listen to the host’s local, private traffic and only talk to the central RIPE Atlas infrastructure.

Please see the FAQ section for more information.

Probe Versions

The first probe version, v1, was distributed from the time RIPE Atlas began in late 2010. The second version, v2, was distributed beginning in late 2011. The current version is v3, which has been distributed since early 2013.

The hardware of the first and second generation probes is a Lantronix XPort Pro module with custom powering and housing built around it. The third generation probe is a modified TP-Link wireless router (model TL-MR 3020) with a small USB thumb drive in it, but this probe does not support WiFi. All three versions of the probe perform the same built-in measurements.

We develop RIPE Atlas in cooperation with the Internet community, and we want to know what you think. Find out how to get in touch.