[dns-operations] Pinging the root name servers to check my connectivity?

Vernon Schryver vjs at rhyolite.com
Tue Sep 11 14:32:15 UTC 2012

> From: Stephane Bortzmeyer <bortzmeyer at nic.fr>

> > anyone who wants reliable connectivity testing

(should use monitor reflectors they 'own' including contracted
services including paid for in kind)

> This leaves out the case of "Mom & Pop monitoring". Of course, my
> employer contracts for reliable monitoring targets. But the small

No, it leaves out the case of goobers with monitors.  Even the small
SOHO needs relevant monitoring information instead of an equivalent
of the familiar GWF "Your DNS server is attacking my firewall!"

Pinging a distant reflector at an unknown location is sillier than
pining the retroreflectors on the Moon to decide whether to carry an
umbrella.  https://www.google.com/search?q=moon+retro-reflectors
The typical small SOHO user knows less about anycasting or ARIN's
example.com sink hole and the implications of ping failures to them
than where the Moon is.

That a SOHO user can't reach Mom & Pop's Bait Shoppe & Ping Reflector,
a DNS root, or the ARIN sink holes says nothing useful to practically
any SOHO user, but will generate bogus trouble calls when things happen
in distant intertubes.  For example, during the recent GoDaddy kerfuffle,
I got a message that fits that goober monitoring profile from a SOHO
user who, like many users, knows a lot less about the Internet than
she thinks she does, including being able to determine whether a web
site is down.  In almost every real world case, there's nothing the
typical SOHO user should do about problems beyond the user's ISP,
including reporting such problems.

The SOHO user should care about pinging a router, DNS or HTTP server,
or other reflector just beyond the user's home router.  For extra
credit and the rare, technically knowledgable SOHO user, it would be
good to have a refector just beyond the user's ISP, perhaps at a nearby

It's unfortunate that the SOHO user's ISP is probably the only entity
that might find those reflectors for the user but will not and will
probably actively resist.  Helping SOHO users to ping the moon only
makes things worse.  Not to put too fine a point on it, I think anyone
running a "Mom & Pop monitoring" reflector is pulling a stevegibson.

Vernon Schryver    vjs at rhyolite.com

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