5 Years of Probing

by Jay Cuthrell
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Behold, one of my probes.

RIPE Atlas Probe

If you haven’t heard of RIPE Atlas, think of it as an open community of individuals and companies that host specialized network devices (probes) that continuously measure Internet performance and relay key statistical information. Much of this statistical information is available to the public.

Hosting the probe can be as simple as plugging in a spare Ethernet cable from the back of your home router and supplying USB power to energize the tiny (nanopi) box supplied to you at no cost. Of course, you are paying for power and connectivity… but what you earn in return is, perhaps, priceless.

I have operated RIPE Atlas probes for several years and just reached a milestone — 5 years of continuous operation for one probe in particular. One perk of continuous operation is the accrual of ~21k RIPE Atlas credits per day.

RIPE Atlas Credits

What does one do with RIPE Atlas credits? Simply put, you gain access to the entirety of the RIPE Atlas community to help you run the User-Defined Measurement (UDM) of your choosing.

Perhaps I want to run a UDM for the ping times from another part of the world to a service I use regularly. Or, maybe I want to test SSL for my website cuthrell.com from 10 different places around the planet.

Sample UDM list

For the second use case, there are some answers provided through a web-based wizard but you can also use an API.

Setup of UDM

As the UDM executes, the results populate on the website and there are options for data extraction programmatically.

Results of the UDM

Further, if you want to visualize the extent and reach of the RIPE Atlas community, you can see the planetary view.

Map of the UDM

If this sounds interesting, good! If you are interested in hosting a RIPE Atlas probe of your own, visit this getting started page.

Until then…

Travel Note for SxSW 2024

I’m going to SxSW 2024.

Will you be at SxSW 2024 too?

If so – let’s catch up in the real world.

I’m also publishing my SxSW 2024 schedule picks. If you like, we can sit together or catch up after to discuss what we just heard and experienced — please grab time on my Calendly.


  1. This is the bigger RIPE Atlas Probe — they truly are quite small.
  2. Check out the RIPE Atlas Probe V4 specifications.
  3. I signed up for RIPE Network Coordination Centre (NCC) access in early 2019 and have truly enjoyed the utility, novelty, and wonder it has sparked in my networking imagination. Thank you RIPE team!


I am linking to my disclosure.

p.s. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to appreciate getting snail mail. If you have time to drop me a postcard that would be amazing. ✉️


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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