Project for the Deployment of Probes to Measure Latency in Panama

22/07/2022

Promoted by the Panama Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC Panama), Panamanian Internet operators are participating in an initiative that seeks to measure the latency of connectivity in Panama, peering between providers in the country, and the security of BGP autonomous systems.

The initiative was born in 2019 during an annual LACNIC event held in Panama and came into fruition in 2021 with the submission of a project in response to the FRIDA Program call for proposals.

The study took more shape recently with the RIPE ATLAS Deployathon, a workshop where participants received training on how to install RIPE ATLAS probes, a measurement tool approved by LACNIC to conduct Internet measurements. 

Simón Pérez of ISOC Panama reported on the journey that began in  2019, when they learned about the Simón project at the first meeting of the Panamanian Operators Group held within the framework of LACNIC 32. Then, in 2021, they learned about LACNIC’s technical reports on latency measurements in Latin America and the Caribbean and the study on BGP routing tables. All of this led ISOC Panama to look for initiatives that would motivate operators in Panama to study latency and BGP tables in their country.

It was then that they contacted Agustín Formoso, formerly a member of the LACNIC staff and currently head of ATLAS RIPE probe distribution, who confirmed that the installation of the probes would allow combining the two studies.

According to Pérez, “The next step will be to install the probes, take measurements, and obtain results.”

The idea is to install probes in each of Panama’s ten provinces so as to have a sample of the country’s Internet service providers.

“One of the things that stood out in the LACNIC study is that it showed a latency of 87 milliseconds for Panama. To us, this number seemed too high. Latency in a country as small as ours should not exceed 10 milliseconds,” Pérez observed.

The goal of the RIPE ATLAS Deployathon was to involve new partners in the project and increase the number of supporters.

The program created a guide and step-by-step instructions on how to use the probes, the RIPE ATLAS accounts, and organized a deployathon to engage all participants.

“This study will allow obtaining real-time information on Internet latency and traffic routes across Panama, even in the case of incidents affecting ISP networks, such as fiber line cuts, mass IP or electrical outages,” he added.

Pérez believes that the initiative is a great opportunity to create technical collaboration among operators in Panama.

In addition to measuring latency, the study will allow creating a map of interconnection in Panama and observing where peering is taking place.

Nayreth González, president of ISOC Panama and head of the National Innovation Authority’s National Multiservices Network (RNMS), stressed that this process was the result of the technical community’s commitment to improving the Internet in Panama.

“A lot of local traffic continues to leave Panama; this is our reality. The results of these tests will be presented to decision-makers, IXPs, members of academia, and the Innovation Authority to see what the steps should be,” González concluded.

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