[dns-operations] Question for fellow users of RIPE ATLAS (broken/saturated probes or what?)

Jake Zack jake.zack at cira.ca
Fri Dec 7 21:13:05 UTC 2018


Hey all,

I often do DNS tests via RIPE ATLAS to confirm that changes and/or new additions to our anycast network haven't created any collateral damage to our clouds and others.

I've noticed that the first several thousand probes (probe ID's < ~6000) consistently return inaccurate/terrible/useless results to DNS tests.

Has anyone else noticed this?  Has anyone else reported it to RIPE ATLAS?  Any theories?

I'll first use DNS queries coming out of Belgium as an example...

                My average response time from Belgium to ANY.CA-SERVERS.CA is 25.103 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 83.944 ms - Greater than a 300% difference?!

The worst part is that the 'traceroute' functionality never seems to show this latency...so I feel powerless in fixing this brokenness from my end.

And it's not just traffic from Belgium, to be clear...

                My average response time from Ireland to ANY.CA-SERVERS.CA is 21.296 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 33.507 ms.
                My average response time from Netherlands to ANY.CA-SERVERS.CA is 22.187 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 77.280ms.
                My average response time from Poland to ANY.CA-SERVERS.CA is 43.910 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 89.235 ms.

And it's not just CIRA...

                The average response time from Belgium to SNS-PB.ISC.ORG is 22.883 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's  33.169 ms.
                The average response time from Belgium to F.ROOT-SERVERS.NET is 15.094 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 23.076 ms.
                The average response time from Belgium to AC1.NSTLD.COM is 36.333 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 44.900 ms.
                The average response time from Belgium to A0.INFO.AFILIAS-NST.INFO is 146.38 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 155.70 ms.
                The average response time from Belgium to X.NS.DNS.BE is 67.214 ms when you exclude probe ID's < ~6000.  With those probes, it's 83.836 ms.

I'm attaching some photos to visually show just how ineffective these probes are at measuring anything related to DNS...

Confirmations on others seeing this, or reporting this, or moving away from RIPE ATLAS for these measurements because of this?  Recommendations other than ThousandEyes (I'm not interested in paying $100K/year for what costs $500/year in VM's and perl scripts).

Ideas on how to get this rectified so that these tests can be useful again?

-Jacob Zack
DNS Architect - CIRA (.CA TLD)
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