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A number of large-scale distributed Internet applications could potentially benefit from some level of knowledge about the relative proximity between its participating host nodes. For example, the performance of large overlay networks could be improved if the application-level connectivity between the nodes in these networks is congruent with the underlying IP-level topology. Similarly, in the case of replicated Web content, client nodes could use topological information in selecting one of multiple available servers. For such applications, one need not find the optimal solution in order to achieve significant practical benefits. Thus, these applications, and presumably others like them, do not require exact topological information and can instead use sufficiently informative hints about the relative positions of Internet hosts. In this paper, we present a binning scheme whereby nodes partition themselves into bins such that nodes that fall within a given bin are relatively close to one another in terms of network latency. Our binning strategy is simple (requiring minimal support from any measurement infrastructure), scalable (requiring no form of global knowledge, each node only needs knowledge of a small number of well-known landmark nodes) and completely distributed (requiring no communication or cooperation between the nodes being binned). We apply this binning strategy to the two applications mentioned above: overlay network construction and server selection. We test our binning strategy and its application using simulation and Internet measurement traces. Our results indicate that the performance of these applications can be significantly improved by even the rather coarse-grained knowledge of topology offered by our binning scheme.
Date of Conference: 2002