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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

4th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation

Pp. 313–326 of the Proceedings

Octant: A Comprehensive Framework for the Geolocalization of Internet Hosts

Bernard Wong, Ivan Stoyanov, and Emin Gün Sirer, Cornell University


Determining the physical location of Internet hosts is a critical enabler for many new location-aware services. In this paper, we present Octant, a novel, comprehensive framework for determining the location of Internet hosts in the real world based solely on network measurements. The key insight behind this framework is to pose the geolocalization problem formally as one of error-minimizing constraint satisfaction, to create a system of constraints by deriving them aggressively from network measurements, and to solve the system geometrically to yield the estimated region in which the target resides. This approach gains its accuracy and precision by taking advantage of both positive and negative constraints, that is, constraints on where the node can and cannot be, respectively. The constraints are represented using regions bounded by Bézier curves, allowing precise constraint representation and low-cost geometric operations. The framework can reason in the presence of uncertainty, enabling it to gracefully cope with aggressively derived constraints that may contain errors. An evaluation of Octant using PlanetLab nodes and public traceroute servers shows that Octant can localize the median node to within 22 mi., a factor of three better than other evaluated approaches.

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