Ethernet Topology Detection from a Single Host without Assistance of Network Nodes or Other Hosts

Yohei HASEGAWA  Masahiro JIBIKI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E92-B   No.4   pp.1128-1136
Publication Date: 2009/04/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E92.B.1128
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Internet Technology and its Architecture for Ambient Information Systems)
Ethernet,  topology detection,  network probing,  

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Topology information has become more important for management of LANs due to the increasing number of hosts attached to a LAN. We describe three Ethernet topology discovery techniques that can be used even in LANs with Ethernet switches that have no management functionality. Our "Shared Switch Detection (SSD)" technique detects the Ethernet tree topology by testing whether two paths in the network share a switch. SSD uses only general MAC address learning. By borrowing MAC addresses from hosts, SSD can be run from a single host. The second technique determines whether two paths between two pairs of hosts contain a switch. The third reduces the number of shared switch detections. Simulation showed that these techniques can be used to detect the Ethernet topology with a reasonable search cost. Examination on a real-world testbed showed that they could detect an Ethernet topology consisting of six hosts and two switches within one second.