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I'm interested in getting a picture of relative volume across different internet backbones. In particular, I'd like to see how traffic volume over a given route differs over the course of a day or from one day to the next.

InternetTrafficReport.com is the closest approximation to this that I've found online, and their approach is to test ping times to a number of key routers from several geographically-dispersed servers. This sounds like one straightforward way to measure, but I don't have several geographically-dispersed servers.

Is there a different approach for sampling this type of information from a single server?

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If you're talking about reporting for your pipes the best suggestion I can offer is to configure your edge routers to generate netflow exports and use a flow cruncher (flow-tools & JKFlow or something commercial) to turn it into something easily-readable.

If you're talking about getting providers to tell you what the load is on their various links I'm not sure who you would have to bribe to go about getting that info: In my experience it's usually considered "internal data" not for general/public distribution (though having been privy to flow data at a tier-2 provider I can tell you that watching the data can be interesting :)

Edit to add: If you're not interested in your provider specifically bur rather more general data CAIDA (www.caida.org) has a few real-time traffic monitoring stations & nice breakdowns. I wouldn't call the data comprehensive, but it's pretty good.

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No, I am specifically looking for major internet backbones - nothing I control directly. The essence of my question is something like "Is Japan experiencing unusually high internet traffic right now?" –  Greg Jun 3 '10 at 17:05
    
No method I know of to monitor the actual traffic -- Like I mentioned that kind of data is usually closely guarded, and the size of the data set (can be upwards of a gig an hour of just flow summaries) precludes pushing it to external aggregators in anything resembling real-time. Someone else may come up with another option though. –  voretaq7 Jun 3 '10 at 19:01
    
Thanks, if it's not available, then it's not available. The CAIDA link is helpful. –  Greg Jun 4 '10 at 1:30

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