Deploying a RIPE Atlas Software Node

Dec 13, 2023

The RIPE Atlas project is a global network of probes used to measure internet connectivity. At the time of writing there are 12868 probes online, sitting on 3792 ASNs (Networks) in 177 countries. This provides a great understanding of the state of the internet in real time, and the best thing is at this is a public project with the data produced being freely available.

If you're unsure who RIPE are, they the non-profit that assign IPv4, IPv6 and ASN numbers for the Europe region.

View measurments: https://atlas.ripe.net/measurements

Map of online probes - 7th December 2023

Running your own probe used to require custom hardware from RIPE, there have been a few different versions over the years. The most common was a repurposed TP-Link router.

You can request a hardware node here: https://atlas.ripe.net/apply/, however these are in limited supply. Running a software probe is an easier alternative especially if you're not sure about running one long term.

This is a dead easy setup using docker thanks to James Swineson. His docker compose is on GitHub: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Jamesits/docker-ripe-atlas/master/docker-compose.yaml

This is my slightly modified version:

version: '3.1'
services:
  ripe-atlas:
    image: jamesits/ripe-atlas:latest
    restart: always
    environment:
      RXTXRPT: "yes"
    volumes:
      - atlas-probe/etc:/var/atlas-probe/etc
      - atlas-probe/status:/var/atlas-probe/status
    cap_drop:
      - ALL
    cap_add:
      - CHOWN
      - SETUID
      - SETGID
      - DAC_OVERRIDE
      - NET_RAW
    mem_limit: "64000000000"
    mem_reservation: 64m

Save it in a docker-compose.yml file and then run with sudo docker compose up -d.

This will create a set of keys within the etc directory. Copy the contents of the probe_key.pub and use within the apply form: https://atlas.ripe.net/apply/swprobe/

If you're unsure of you're ASN number you can run curl https://ipinfo.io/org

That's it once the form it submit you should get an email with your probe ID, you should receive around 21,600 every 24 hours. I had to wait a full 24 hours before receiving any.

After your credits come in you'll then be able to run measurements via the measurements form:

Create Measurement Form

Now it's time to sit back and grab a coffee as the credits role in and the internet is made better!