March 19, 2019
The Next Generation IP Geolocation service
In our previous article, IP Geolocation Demystified, we outlined how IP Geolocation works, the methods used by service providers and the pitfalls of existing technologies in this space.
After extensive research and development, BigDataCloud is positioned to revolutionise the IP Geolocation industry, offering services that finally overcome these pitfalls and the stigmas that surround them.
Imagine getting an accurate Geolocation profile of your customer in mere milliseconds as opposed to seconds. That is the reality that BigDataCloud is presenting. This opens the doors to actual real-time Geolocation throughout your customer’s user experience. There is no longer any need to send requests server-side or for caching/pre-empting content to get around slow, unresponsive and inaccurate Geolocation services.
With the current trend in online connectivity, the internet-of-things and the integration of Internet connected commerce and marketing, it is absolutely vital that you can make immediate, qualitative decisions based on your customer’s location and demographic regardless of the media they are using.
How BigDataCloud differs from existing services
We at BigDataCloud have seen the processes and methods used by existing IP Geolocation providers to gather their data and to provide you with their best-guess of Geolocation results. In most cases these guesses are inaccurate, outdated and prone to errors, as discussed in the previous article. Learning from the mistakes these companies have made in the past and are continuing to make, we took a step back to get a clearer picture and re-think the strategies and technologies used. In doing so we have come up with a much improved, streamlined and more accurate solution than is currently available. The below outlines some of the technology we have utilised and implemented.
The Internet is a packet-switched, hierarchical network similar to conventional parcel postage networks around the world. When a device connects to the internet and wishes to communicate with another device (e.g. a website), it sends out a data packet towards the destination address. If the source is directly connected to the destination, the packet goes straight there. In nearly all situations, this is not the case, and the packet needs to be routed using network router devices that ensure global connectivity.
This routing process is almost identical to a conventional parcel postage service. For example, if a parcel is sent from Norwood, South Australia to Denver, Colorado US, the parcel is first accepted by the local post office (presumably in Norwood SA). The parcel is then examined, and since the target destination/address is not within the post office’s delivery area, the parcel is routed to an upper hub – such as the bigger regional postage hub of Adelaide, South Australia (the capital of this state). Such large hubs (especially if they have access to an international airport) can use other predefined strategies such as: “What shall we do if the parcel is going to the US, or even more specifically, to Colorado US? If there is no appropriate and direct international route defined from that hub, the parcel will be further transited to another hub in the same country (perhaps Sydney, the capital of NSW) that does have the necessary, defined international route. From there it is redirected to a hub on US soil, presumably a large one but not necessarily even in the Colorado state area. It is again redirected closer until it reaches the closest post office servicing the final destination/address. Only then is it finally delivered to the recipient.
In this scenario, it is clearly understood that:
- Every postage hub/post office unit has its own predefined routing policy.
- Some can accept postage and deliver directly to recipients (end users), while others can only sort and redirect to other hubs within the same country.
- Some may redirect to other countries.
- Some may possibly do it all of these tasks.
- Every postage hub/post office that delivers parcels to recipients has its own predefined service coverage area.
- The last post office in a delivery chain is essentially the closest one to the destination.
- We can assume with high accuracy that if a person accepts a parcel delivery in Denver Colorado, he/she lives or works in that area.
The very same logic can be applied to the Internet. Countries or States are represented on the Internet as Autonomous Systems (AS). Routers are taking part in the delivery chain exactly as postage hubs/post offices do. Some are responsible for serving customers at their destination (Access or Aggregation routers), while others redirect traffic within the same AS (Core routers), and some handle inbound and outbound extra AS traffic (Edge or Border routers). Others can do it all (Multifunctional routers). Autonomous Systems (AS) are the same as Countries/States in the parcel delivery network and are interconnected using some predefined but dynamic and flexible policies – powered by Border Router Gateway (BGP) protocol.
Using the postage example as an analogy, we can determine with a high level of confidence a geographic location for every IP address, if:
- We manage to identify and classify all the public-facing network routers on the Internet;
- We determine what is the actual service area for each of these;
- We know which is the last serving router for each of the remainder of the IP addresses on the internet.
- Finally, knowing the closest router interface and its expected service area, we are able to estimate the location-likelihood for every reachable IP address in the world.
That is how BigDataCloud works (patent pending)
- We non-intrusively and non-abusively discover the entire routable IP address space, revealing all the public ‘postage’ routes worldwide
- We note and further classify all the world router interfaces detected
- Then, by using a comparatively small amount of IP addresses with known Geolocations (field evidence data), we estimate the actual service area for every router interface detected
- Finally, knowing the closest router interface and its expected service area, we are able to estimate the location likelihood for every reachable IP address in the world
As a result the main benefits of the BigDataCloud’s Next Generation IP geolocation technology include:
- Superior geolocation accuracy at a global scale
- Superior data granulation – no more blocks up to a single IP address geolocation resolution!
- Superior data update rate – industry’s first factual daily updated system
- More valuable data - revealing the operational area in addition to a conventional location point estimation
- Perfectly suitable for mobile networks geolocation
To see an example of our Geolocation services in action, why not check out our What is My IP? page, where you can see first-hand the speed and quality of data our API’s offer.
To find out more about our IP Geolocation APIs, including live demos, data objects and integration instructions, head over to IP Geolocation APIs
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