How to Use the RIPE Atlas Toolkit

Configuration

For most features, Magellan will work out-of-the-box, but if you’d like to customise the experience, or if you want to use this tool to create a measurement of your own, then you’ll need to configure it.

Thankfully, configuration is easy by way of the configure command::

$ ripe-atlas configure --help

Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--editor   Invoke ${EDITOR} to edit the configuration directly
--set path=value Permanently set a configuration value so it can be used in the future.
--init   Create a configuration file and save it into your home directory at: ${HOME}/.config/ripe-atlas-tools/rc

Examples

Create a standard configuration file. Note that this typically isn’t necessary:

$ ripe-atlas configure --init

Invoke your editor of choice to manually fiddle with the configuration file:

$ ripe-atlas configure --editor

Set an arbitrary value within the configuration file. You can use dot-separated notation to dictation the value you wish to change:

$ ripe-atlas configure --set authorisation.create=YOUR_API_KEY

Quick Measurement Information

For the impatient, and for those looking to see how they might write their own plugins, we have a simple go command::

$ ripe-atlas go <measurement-id>

This will open a web browser and take you to the detail page for the measurement id provided.

Measurement Querying

A querying tool for finding existing measurements in the RIPE Atlas database. You can request a table-formatted list of measurements based on search-string lookups, type, start time, etc.

Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--search A free-form string This could match the target or description.
--status One of: scheduled, stopped, ongoing The measurement status.
--af One of: 4, 6 The address family.
--type One of: ping, traceroute, dns, sslcert, ntp, http The measurement type.
--field One of: status, target, url, type, id, description The field(s) to display. Invoke multiple times for multiple fields. The default is id, type, description, and status.
--ids-only   Display a list of measurement ids matching your filter criteria.
--limit An integer The number of measurements to return. The number must be between 1 and 1000
--started-before An ISO timestamp Filter for measurements that started before a specific date. The format required is YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS
--started-after An ISO timestamp Filter for measurements that started after a specific date. The format required is YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS
--stopped-before An ISO timestamp Filter for measurements that stopped before a specific date. The format required is YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS
--stopped-after An ISO timestamp Filter for measurements that stopped after a specific date. The format required is YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS

Examples

Get a list of measurements:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search

Filter that list by status=ongoing:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search --status ongoing

Further filter it by getting measurements that conform to IPv6:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search --status ongoing --af 6

Get that same list, but strip out everything but the measurement ids:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search --status ongoing --af 6 --ids-only

Limit that list to 200 entries:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search --status ongoing --af 6 --limit 200

Get that list, but show only the id, url and target fields:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search –status ongoing –af 6
–field id –field url –field target

Filter for measurements of type dns that started after January 1, 2015:

$ ripe-atlas measurement-search --type dns --started-after 2015-01-01

Probe Querying

Just like the measurement-search command, but for probes, and a lot more powerful. You can use this command to find probes within an ASN, prefix, or geographical region, and then aggregate by country, ASN, and/or prefix.

Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--limit An integer Return limited number of probes.
--field One of: status, description, address_v6, address_v4, asn_v4, is_public, asn_v6, id, prefix_v4, prefix_v6, is_anchor, country, coordinates The field(s) to display. Invoke multiple times for multiple fields. The default is id, asn_v4, asn_v6, country, and status.
--aggregate-by country, asn_v4, asn_v6, prefix_v4, prefix_v6 Aggregate list of probes based on all specified aggregations. Multiple aggregations supported.
--all   Fetch ALL probes. That will give you a loooong list.
--max-per-aggregation An integer Maximum number of probes per aggregated bucket.
--ids-only   Print only IDs of probes. Useful to pipe it to another command.
--asn An integer Filter the list by an ASN
--asnv4 An integer Filter the list by an ASN
--asnv6 An integer Filter the list by an ASN
--prefix A prefix string Filter the list by a prefix
--prefixv4 A prefix string Filter the list by a prefix
--prefixv6 A prefix string Filter the list by a prefix
--location A free-form string The location of probes as a string i.e. ‘Amsterdam’
--center A pair of geographic coordinates Location as <lat>,<lon>-string, i.e. “48.45,9.16”
--radius An integer Radius in km from specified center/point.
--country A two-letter ISO country code The country in which the probes are located.

Examples

Get a list of probes within ASN 3333:

$ ripe-atlas probe-search --asn 3333

Further filter that list to show only probes in ASN 3333 from the Netherlands:

$ ripe-atlas probe-search --asn 3333 --country nl

Change the limit from the default of 25 to 200:

$ ripe-atlas probe-search --asn 3333 --limit 200

Aggregate the probes by country, and then by ASN:

$ ripe-atlas probe-search --asn 3333 --aggregate-by country --aggregate-by asn

Show the id, url, target, description, and whether the probe is public or not:

$ ripe-atlas probe-search --asn 3333 --field id --field url --field description \
  --field is_public

Result Reporting

A means to generate a simple text-based report based on the results from a measurement. Typically, this is used to get the latest results of a measurement in a human-readable format, but with the --start-time and --stop-time options, you can get results from any time range you like. It’s possible to generate the report by automatically fetching the results from the API, by reading a local file, or by reading standard input.

Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--auth RIPE Atlas key alias One of the RIPE Atlas key alias configured for results fetching.
--probes A comma-separated list of probe ids Limit the report to only results obtained from specific probes.
--probe-asns A comma-separated list of ASNs Limit the report to only results obtained from probes belonging to specific ASNs.
--renderer One of: dns, http, ntp, ping, raw, ssl_consistency, sslcert, traceroute, traceroute_aspath, aggregate_ping The renderer you want to use. If this isn’t defined, an appropriate renderer will be selected.
--from-file A file path The source of the data to be rendered. Conflicts with specifying a measurement_id to fetch from the API.
--aggregate-by One of: status, prefix_v4, prefix_v6, country, rtt-median, asn_v4, asn_v6 Tell the rendering engine to aggregate the results by the selected option. Note that if you opt for aggregation, no output will be generated until all results are received.
--start-time An ISO timestamp The start time of the report. The format should conform to YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS
--stop-time An ISO timestamp The stop time of the report. The format should conform to YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS

Examples

Get the latest results of measurement 1001:

$ ripe-atlas report 1001

The same, but specifically request the ping renderer:

$ ripe-atlas report 1001 --renderer ping

Aggregate those results by country:

$ ripe-atlas report 1001 --aggregate-by country

Get results from the same measurement, but show all results from the first week of 2015:

$ ripe-atlas report 1001 --start-time 2015-01-01 --stop-time 2015-01-07

Get results from the first day of 2015 until right now:

$ ripe-atlas report 1001 --start-time 2015-01-01

Pipe the contents of an arbitrary file into the renderer. The rendering engine will be guessed from the first line of input:

$ cat /path/to/file/full/of/results | ripe-atlas report

The same, but point Magellan to a file deliberately rather than using a pipe:

$ ripe-atlas report --from-file /path/to/file/full/of/results

Result Streaming

Connect to the streaming API and render the results in real-time as they come in.

Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--auth RIPE Atlas key alias One of the RIPE Atlas key alias configured for results fetching.
--limit A number < 1000 The maximum number of results you want to stream. The default is to stream forever until you hit Ctrl+C.
--renderer One of: dns, http, ntp, ping, raw, ssl_consistency, sslcert, traceroute, traceroute_aspath, aggregate_ping The renderer you want to use. If this isn’t defined, an appropriate renderer will be selected.

Examples

Stream the results from measurement #1001:

$ ripe-atlas stream 1001

Limit those results to 500:

$ ripe-atlas stream 1001 --limit 500

Specify a renderer:

$ ripe-atlas stream 1001 --renderer ping

Combine for fun and profit:

$ ripe-atlas stream 1001 --renderer ping --limit 500

Measurement Creation

The most complicated command we have, this will create a measurement (given a plethora of options) and begin streaming the results back to you in a standardised rendered form.

It’s invoked by using a special positional argument that dictates the type of measurement you want to create. This also unlocks special options, specific to that type. See the examples for more information.

Options

All measurements share a base set of options.

Option Arguments Explanation
--renderer One of: dns, http, ntp, ping, raw, ssl_consistency, sslcert, traceroute, traceroute_aspath, aggregate_ping The renderer you want to use. If this isn’t defined, an appropriate renderer will be selected.
--dry-run   Do not create the measurement, only show its definition.
--auth An API key The API key you want to use to create the measurement.
--af One of: 4, 6 The address family, either 4 or 6. The default is a guess based on the target, favouring 6.
--description A free-form string The description/name of your new measurement.
--target A domain or IP The target, either a domain name or IP address. If creating a DNS measurement, the absence of this option will imply that you wish to use the probe’s resolver.
--no-report   Don’t wait for a response from the measurement, just return the URL at which you can later get information about the measurement.
--go-web   Don’t wait for a response from the measurement, just immediately open the measurement URL in the default web browser.
--resolve-on-probe   Flag that indicates that a name should be resolved (using DNS) on the probe. Otherwise it will be resolved on the RIPE Atlas servers.
--interval An integer Rather than run this measurement as a one-off (the default), create this measurement as a recurring one, with an interval of n seconds between attempted measurements. This option implies --no-report.
--from-area One of: WW, West, North-Central, South-Central, North-East, South-East The area from which you’d like to select your probes.
--from-country A two-letter ISO country code The country from which you’d like to select your probes.
--from-prefix A prefix string The prefix from which you’d like to select your probes.
--from-asn An ASN number The ASN from which you’d like to select your probes.
--from-probes A comma-separated list of probe ids Probes you want to use in your measurement.
--from-measurement A measurement id A measurement id which you want to use as the basis for probe selection in your new measurement. This is a handy way to re-create a measurement under conditions similar to another measurement.
--probes An integer The number of probes you want to use.
--include-tag A tag name Include only probes that are marked with this tag. Note that this option may be repeated.
--exclude-tag A tag name Exclude probes that are marked with this tag. Note that this option may be repeated.
--measurement-tags A comma-separated list of measurement tags Measurement tags to be applied to the newly created measurement.

Ping-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--packets An integer The number of packets sent
--size An integer The size of packets sent
--packet-interval An integer  

Traceroute-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--packets An integer The number of packets sent
--size An integer The size of packets sent
--protocol One of: ICMP, UDP, TCP The protocol used. For DNS measurements, this is limited to UDP and TCP, but traceroutes may use ICMP as well.
--timeout An integer The timeout per-packet
--dont-fragment   Don’t Fragment the packet
--paris An integer Use Paris. Value must be between 0 and 64.If 0, a standard traceroute will be performed.
--first-hop An integer Value must be between 1 and 255.
--max-hops An integer Value must be between 1 and 255.
--port An integer Destination port, valid for TCP only.
--destination-option-size An integer IPv6 destination option header.
--hop-by-hop-option-size An integer IPv6 hop by hop option header.

DNS-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--query-class One of: IN, CHAOS The query class. The default is “IN”
--query-type One of: A, SOA, TXT, SRV, SSHFP, TLSA, NSEC, DS, AAAA, CNAME, DNSKEY, NSEC3, PTR, HINFO, NSEC3PARAM, NS, MX, RRSIG, ANY The query type. The default is “A”
--query-argument A string The DNS label to query.
--set-cd-bit   Set the DNSSEC Checking Disabled flag (RFC4035)
--set-do-bit   Set the DNSSEC OK flag (RFC3225)
--set-nsid-bit   Include an EDNS name server. ID request with the query.
--udp-payload-size An integer May be any integer between 512 and 4096 inclusive.
--set-rd-bit   Set the Recursion Desired flag.
--retry An integer Number of times to retry.

SSL Certificate-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--port An integer The port to query

HTTP-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--header-bytes An integer The maximum number of bytes to retrieve from the header
--version A string The HTTP version to use
--method A string The HTTP method to use
--path A string The path on the webserver
--query-string A string An arbitrary query string
--user-agent A string An arbitrary user agent
--body-bytes An integer The maximum number of bytes to retrieve from the body
--timing-verbosity One of: 0, 1, 2 The amount of timing information you want returned. 1 returns the time to read, to connect, and to first byte, 2 returns timing information per read system call. 0 (default) returns no additional timing information.

NTP-Specific Options

Option Arguments Explanation
--packets An integer The number of packets sent
--timeout An integer The timeout per-packet

Examples

The simplest of measurements. Create a ping with 50 probes to example.com:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com

The same, but don’t actually create it, just show what would be done:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com --dry-run

Be more specific about which address family you want to target:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com --af 6

Ask for 20 probes from Canada:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com --probes 20 --from-country ca

Or ask for 20 Canadian probes that definitely support IPv6:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com --probes 20 \
  --from-country ca --include-tag system-ipv6-works

Rather than creating a one-off create a recurring measurement:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com --interval 3600

Moving onto DNS measurements, do a lookup for example.com. Since we’re not specifying --target here, this implies that we want to use the probe’s resolver:

$ ripe-atlas measure dns --query-argument example.com

Getting a little more complicated, let’s set a few special bits and make a more complex query:

$ ripe-atlas measure dns --query-type AAAA --query-argument example.com \
  --set-nsid-bit --set-rd-bit --set-do-bit --set-cd-bit

Shortcuts

If you’re creating a lot of measurements in a short time, typing out ripe-atlas measure traceroute a whole bunch of times can be tiresome, so we’ve added a few shortcut scripts for you:

Where you’d typically write You could use this instead
ripe-atlas measure ping aping
ripe-atlas measure traceroute atraceroute
ripe-atlas measure dns adig
ripe-atlas measure sslcert asslcert
ripe-atlas measure http ahttp
ripe-atlas measure ntp antp

So for example, these two commands are the same:

$ ripe-atlas measure ping --target example.com
$ aping --target example.com

If you want to streamline your typing process even more than this, we recommend the use of your shell’s alias feature, which is both powerful and customisable for your needs.