Research & Development

The Internet ecosystem is constantly evolving and is subject to rapid development and innovation, driven by a variety of stakeholders. DE-CIX plays an integral role in this ecosystem, as we interconnect hundreds of networks at our Internet Exchanges.

DE-CIX's Research & Development team

A team of researchers and technology experts identifies and tackles challenges. In close cooperation with industrial and academic partners, our Research & Development team works on projects to seek new technical opportunities to further drive innovation in the Internet Exchange market. This includes externally-funded projects by the public sector.

Research focus

We work on adopting novel technology paradigms for developing and designing a next-generation Internet Exchange. Current hot topics are:

  • Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
  • Improvement of inter-domain routing
  • Detection and mitigation of DDoS attacks at IX scale
  • Internet measurements

For the benefit of the IX community

DE-CIX shares the results with the Internet operational and scientific communities and makes solutions available as open source. We actively contribute to international standardization bodies, e.g., IETF, ENISA, or German industry working group Internet infrastructure.

Public research projects

  • The R&D project, 5G Islands, focuses on 5G campus networks. There are so many possibilities for how to use 5G Islands, and one idea is to assist factories, especially in rural areas. Automotive production facilities, for example, require a lot of sensor data, telemetric data, and a lot of data about each specific car. And there is a large amount of data amassed at the factory site. All of this data needs to be stored in a centralized manner, and 5G Islands provide a way to enable the processing of that data and to satisfy the specific requirements that come with machine communication (e.g. latency and reliability requirements). 

    Solutions have to be found for pre-aggregating data, and for providing a safe and secure overlay network across the Internet to interconnect all the different sites and 5G Islands involved in the production processes.

    Learn more.

  • The AIDos project, which started in July 2019, explores AI-supported DDoS mitigation at Internet Exchanges. The idea is to improve the mitigation capabilities at Internet Exchanges to defend against DDoS attacks – to create an improved Blackholing service.  

    The aim of this three-year project is not only to provide the tools for mitigation, but also to help networks with DDoS detection. Since Internet Exchanges are very central points in the Internet – from a logical perspective – they are very suited for the correlation of data from multiple customers and the early detection and AI-supported detection of those attacks, maybe even before networks realize themselves that they have been targeted. With AIDoS and extended DDoS mitigation possibilities, networks can get tailored recommendations on how to mitigate an attack.

    Learn more.

  • DE-CIX's Research & Development team closely collaborates with five European partners to develop the next generation of Internet Exchange Points based on SDN.

    The research focuses on enabling novel and innovative features for IXP customers by offering more fine-grained control and programmability of their IXP interconnection.

    We contribute our know-how as an IX operator to help design new IXP features based on SDN technology. As a final result, the project will showcase the potential of an SDN-enabled IXP with a real world demonstrator, which is an essential step towards bringing this technology into production.

    Learn more.

  • Following the idea of processing and utilizing large amounts of specific data to improve IT security, the Big Data Security project (BDSec) combines two contemporary hot topics in IT.

    The integral objective of the project is to facilitate today’s big data technologies to advance in various areas of IT security.

    DE-CIX's Research & Development team focuses on the detection of denial of service attacks (DoS) as well as appropriate reactive measures. Specifically, we investigate how to enhance the DE-CIX’s Blackholing service by improving customer assistance during ongoing attacks.

  • The overall goal of X-CHECK is to provide improved security for ICT-systems by leveraging data from Internet Exchange Points. 

    The three main objectives of X-CHECK are:

    • Threat analysis for public network access points,
    • Scalable real-time analysis of network incidents at IXPs, and
    • Development of open-source tools for the detection of IT security incidents.

    DE-CIX's Research & Development team especially works on understanding and mitigating threats to the route server infrastructure as well as improving inter domain routing security by integrating technologies such as RPKI, BGPSEC, and SEND into existing infrastructures.

Research papers

Wagner, D., Ranadive, S., Griffioen, H., Kallitsis, M., Dainotti, A., Smaragdakis, G. & Feldmann, A.: How to Operate a Meta-Telescope in your Spare Time. In ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC ’23), 2023

Wagner, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Dietzel, C., Blendin, J., & Feldmann, A.: P4IX: A Concept for P4 Programmable Data Planes at IXPs. In ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Future of Internet Routing & Adressing (FIRA), 2022

Wichtlhuber, M., Strehle, E., Kopp, D., Prepens, L., Stegmueller, S., Rubina, A., Dietzel, C. & Hohlfeld, O.: IXP Scrubber: Learning from Blackholing Traffic for ML-driven DDoS Detection at Scale. In ACM SIGCOMM Conference (SIGCOMM), 2022

Prehn, L., Lichtblau, F., Dietzel, C. & Feldmann, A.: Peering Only? Analyzing the Reachability Benefits of Joining Large IXPs Today. In Proceedings of the 2022 Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM ’22), 2022

Wagner, D., Kopp, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Dietzel, C., Hohlfeld, O., Smaragdakis, G. & Feldmann, A.: United We Stand: Collaborative Detection and Mitigation of Amplification DDoS Attacks at Scale. In ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2021

Feldmann, A., Gasser, O., Lichtblau, F., Pujol, E., Poese, I., Dietzel, C., Wagner, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Tapiador, J., Vallina-Rodriguez, N., Hohlfeld, O. & Smaragdakis, G.: A Year in Lockdown: How the Waves of COVID-19 Impact Internet Traffic. In Communications of the ACM (CACM), Volume 64, No. 7, July 2021

Hoeschele, T., Dietzel, C., Kopp, D., Fitzek, F., Reisslein, M., Salah, H., and Schulte, G.: Importance of Internet Exchange Point (IXP) Infrastructure for 5G: Estimating the Impact of 5G Use Cases (Extended Technical Report), Extended Technical Report in Telecommunications Policy, Volume 45, Issue 3, April 2021

Kopp, D., Dietzel, C., Hohlfeld, O.: DDoS Never Dies? An IXP Perspective on DDoS Amplification Attacks. In Proceedings of the 2021 Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM ’21), 2021

Feldmann, A., Gasser, O., Lichtblau, F., Pujol, E., Poese, I., Dietzel, C., Wagner, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Tapiador, J., Vallina-Rodriguez, N., Hohlfeld, O. & Smaragdakis, G.: The Lockdown Effect: Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Internet Traffic. In Proceedings of the 2020 Internet Measurement Conference (IMC '20), 2020

Marcos, P., Chiesa, M., Dietzel, C., Canini, M., Barcellos, M.: A Survey on the Current Internet Interconnection Practices. In ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review (CCR), 50(1), 2020

Nawrocki, M., Blendin, J., Dietzel, C., Schmidt, T. & Wählisch, M.: Down the Black Hole: Dismantling Operational Practices of BGP Blackholing at IXPs. In ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC), 2019

Kopp, D., Wichtlhuber, M., Poese, I., Santanna, J., Hohlfeld, O. & Dietzel, C.: DDoS Hide & Seek: On the Effectiveness of a Booter Services Takedown. In ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC), 2019

Dietzel, C., Wichtlhuber, M., Smaragdakis, G., & Feldmann, A.: Stellar: Network Attack Mitigation using Advanced Blackholing. In ACM International Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies (CoNEXT), 2018

Marcos, P., Chiesa, M., Müller, L., Kathiravelu, P., Dietzel, C., & Canini, M.: Dynam-IX: a Dynamic Interconnection eXchange. In ACM International Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies (CoNEXT), 2018

Blendin, J., Bendfeldt, F., Poese, I., Koldehofe, B. & Hohlfeld, O.: Dissecting Apple’s Meta-CDN during an iOS Update. In ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC), 2018

Nomikos, G., Kotronis, V., Sermpezis, P., Gigis, P., Manassakis, L., Dietzel, C., Konstantaras, S., Dimitropoulos, X., & Giotsas V.: O Peer, Where Art Thou? Uncovering Remote Peering Interconnections at IXPs. In ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC), 2018

Marcos, P., Chiesa, M., Müller, L., Kathiravelu, P., Dietzel, C., Canini, M., & Barcellos, M.: Dynam-IX: a Dynamic Interconnection eXchange. In ACM SIGCOMM (Poster), 2018

Rüth, J., Poese, I., Dietzel, C., & Hohlfeld, O.: A First Look at QUIC in the Wild. In Proceedings of the Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM), 2018

Gasser, O., Scheitle, Q., Rudolph, B., Denis, C., Schricker, N., & Carle, G.: The Amplification Threat Posed by Publicly Reachable BACnet Devices. In Journal of Cyber Security and Mobility, October 2017

Antichi, G., Castro, I., Chiesa, M., Fernandes, E., Lapeyrade, R., Kopp, D., Hun Han, J., Bruyere, M., Dietzel, C., Gusat, M., Moore, A. W., Owezarski, P., Uhlig, S., Canini, M.: ENDEAVOUR: A Scalable SDN Architecture for Real-World IXPs. IEEE JSAC Special issue on Emerging Technologies in Software-driven Communication, November 2017

Giotsas, V., Smaragdakis, G., Dietzel C., Richter, P., Feldmann, A., & Berger, A.: Inferring BGP Blackholing Activity in the Internet. In ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC), 2017

Giotsas, V., Dietzel C., Smaragdakis, G., Feldmann, A., Berger, A., & Aben, E.: Detecting Peering Infrastructure Outages in the Wild. In ACM SIGCOMM, 2017

Dietzel, C., Antichi, G., Castro, I., Fernandes, E., Chiesa, M., & Kopp, D.: SDN-enabled Traffic Engineering and Advanced Blackholing at IXPs. In Proceedings of the Symposium on SDN Research. ACM, 2017

Abt, S., Baier, H.: Correlating Network Events and Transferring Labels in the Presence of IP Address Anonymisation. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Network and Service Management (CNSM), 2016

Chiesa, M., Dietzel, C., Antichi, G., Bruyère, M., Castro, I., Gusat, M., King, T., Moore, A. W., Nguyen, T. D., Owezarski, P., Uhlig, S. & Canini, M.: Inter-domain Networking Innovation on Steroids: Empowering IXPs with SDN Capabilities. In IEEE Communications Magazine - October 2016/SDN Use Cases For Service Provider Networks*

Dietzel, C., Feldmann, A., King, T.:: Blackholing at IXPs: On the Effectiveness of DDoS Mitigation in the Wild. In Proceedings of the Passive and Active Measurement Conference (PAM), 2016

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