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Physical topology discovery for large multisubnet networks

Bejerano Y., Breitbart, Y, Garofalakis Minos, Rastogi Rajeev

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Year 2003
Type of Item Conference Full Paper
Bibliographic Citation Y. Bejerano, Y. Breitbart, M. Garofalakis and R. Rastogi, "Physical topology discovery for large multi-subnet networks", in Twenty-Second Annual Joint Conference of the IEEE Computer and Communications, 30 March-3 April 2003, pp. 342-352. doi: 10.1109/INFCOM.2003.1208686
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Knowledge of the up-to-date physical (i.e., layer-2) topology of an Ethernet network is crucial to a number of critical network management tasks, including reactive and proactive resource management, event correlation, and root-cause analysis. Given the dynamic nature of today's IP networks, keeping track of topology information manually is a daunting (if not impossible) task. Thus, effective algorithms for automatically discovering physical network topology are necessary. In this paper, we propose the first complete algorithmic solution for discovering the physical topology of a large, heterogeneous Ethernet network comprising multiple subnets as well as (possibly) dumb or uncooperative network elements. Our algorithms rely on standard SNMP MIB information that is widely supported in modern IP networks and require no modifications to the operating system software running on elements or hosts. Furthermore, we formally demonstrate that our solution is complete for the given MIB data; that is, if the MIB information is sufficient to uniquely identify the network topology then our algorithm is guaranteed to recover it. To the best of our knowledge, ours is the first solution to provide such a strong completeness guarantee.