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Establishing a clear and timely picture of Internet topology is complicated by many factors including the vast size and dynamic nature of the infrastructure. In this paper, the authors describe a methodology for estimating an important characteristic of Internet topology - the hop distance between arbitrary pairs of end hosts. The goal is to develop an approach to pairwise hop distance estimation that is accurate, scalable, timely and does not require a significant measurement infrastructure. The methodology is based on deploying a small set of landmark nodes that use traceroute-like probes between each other to establish a set of accurate pairwise hop distances.
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