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New Tool Helps Users Control Which Countries Their Internet Traffic Goes Through


A visualization of Internet traffic.

A new tool developed by Princeton University researchers enables users to redirect their Internet traffic to avoid passing through a particular country.

Credit: Stephen Eick/Visual Insights

Princeton University researchers have developed a tool that enables users to redirect their Internet traffic to avoid passing through a particular country by diverting traffic through intermediate points.

The team began by assessing several countries' efforts to reduce their reliance on U.S. networks for routing their Internet traffic, looking at traffic to the 100 most popular websites in several nations. More than half of all routing paths originating in other countries passed through the U.S., with Brazil having the greatest dependence, with 84% of traffic traveling through the U.S.

To create the tool, called Region-Aware Networking (RAN), the researchers established a network of relays using machines in 10 countries and a mechanism to forward Internet traffic through the relays.

RAN was found to be more effective in bypassing some countries than others, since many popular websites are hosted only on servers in the U.S. or Europe.

By decreasing international routing, tools like RAN could help avoid surveillance and censorship, boost connection speeds, and reduce costs.

From Princeton University
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