"Seven years in the life of Hypergiants' off-nets"
Petros Gigis, Matt Calder, Lefteris Manassakis, George Nomikos, Vasileios Kotronis, Xenofontas Dimitropoulos, Ethan Katz-Bassett, and Georgios Smaragdakis.
ACM SIGCOMM 2021.[ Best paper award]

Content Hypergiants deliver the vast majority of Internet traffic to end users. In recent years, some have invested heavily in deploying services and servers inside end-user networks. With several dozen Hypergiants and thousands of servers deployed inside networks, these off-net (meaning outside the Hypergiant networks) deployments change the structure of the Internet. Previous efforts to study them have relied on proprietary data or specialized per-Hypergiant measurement techniques that neither scale nor generalize, providing a limited view of content delivery on today's Internet.

In this paper, we develop a generic and easy to implement methodology to measure the expansion of Hypergiants' off-nets. Our key observation is that Hypergiants increasingly encrypt their traffic to protect their customers' privacy. Thus, we can analyze publicly available Internet-wide scans of port 443 and retrieve TLS certificates to discover which IP addresses host Hypergiant certificates in order to infer the networks hosting off-nets for the corresponding Hypergiants. Our results show that the number of networks hosting Hypergiant off-nets has tripled from 2013 to 2021, reaching 4.5k networks. The largest Hypergiants dominate these deployments, with almost all of these networks hosting an off-net for at least one -- and increasingly two or more -- of Google, Netflix, Facebook, or Akamai. These four Hypergiants have off-nets within networks that provide access to a significant fraction of end user population.

Open Access: ACM Digital Library

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