On the Number of Distributed Measurement Points for Network Tomography

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Internet topology information is only made available in aggregate form by standard routing protocols. Connectivity information and latency characteristics must therefore be inferred using indirect techniques. In this paper we consider measurements using a distributed set of measurement points or beacons. We show that computing the minimum number of required beacons on a network under a BGP-like routing policy is NP-hard and at best Ω(log n)-approximable. In the worst case at least (n-1)/3 and at most (n+1)/3 beacons are required for a network with n nodes. We then introduce some results and observations that allow us to propose a relatively small candidate set of beacons for the current Internet topology. The set proposed has properties with relevant applications for all-paths routing on the public Internet and performance based routing.

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