How IP Geolocation Databases Can Help You Geolocate Routers
Did you know that any Internet-enabled device gets its own IP address when it accesses anything online? That includes your router, which acts as your home network’s hub. It connects your home network comprising smart devices, mobile phones, laptops, shared storage drives, and all other gadgets connected to the Internet.
Each device gets a private IP address and a public one. It is necessary so that the private IP address can identify a system within the home network. Supposing all your devices had the same IP address, how would you connect a printer to your computer? You may as well be asking your smart refrigerator to print a document. And so, all networks have several private IP addresses to identify all connected devices.
All of your router-connected devices, however, share a public IP address—that of your router, which comes preassigned by your Internet service provider (ISP). That IP address allows vendors and pretty much everyone you interact with online to track your geolocation.
What Is Router Geolocation For?
Much like any geolocation service, router geolocation allows users to primarily personalize content and ads and enforce cybersecurity policies. Unlike other geolocation services, however, networking researchers also use router geolocation to study Internet resource geographic deployment and utilization. In particular, router geolocation allows users to:
- Visualize routing phenomena to detect Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) threats (BGP, of course, is the standard communication protocol for the Internet.)
- Estimate the geographic presence of Autonomous Systems (ASs) and detect routing paths that may require detours;
- Apply censorship and monitoring protocols in different countries when AS paths lie within different territories.
Because these processes require accurate geolocations, it is ideal to use router IP addresses fixed to where the devices are located. Router geolocations are typically available via an IP geolocation database.
What Does an IP Geolocation Database Provide?
IP Geolocation Data Feed, which covers 99.5% of all IP addresses in use, provides details that include:
- Connection type
- Latitude and longitude
- Postal code
- Time zone
- GeoNames ID
If you wish to focus on router locations, start by removing all IP addresses that pertain to mobile connection.
How to Locate a Router By Using an IP Geolocation Database in 5 Simple Steps
To identify the physical location of any router of interest using an IP geolocation database, follow these steps:
- Visit the IP Geolocation Data Feed page.
- Click the Download database button.
- Choose your preferred payment method.
- Copy and paste the data into a spreadsheet or another software type for easier manipulation. Filter the data in the connectionType column to take out all mobile connections. Note that while not all of the remaining IP addresses may pertain to fixed routers, you at least disregard all mobile device Internet devices like dongles.
Central to one’s success in accurate router geolocation is the quality of information an IP geolocation database provides.
Router Geolocation Applications Aided by IP Geolocation Database Use
As was said, router geolocation provides the same benefits and more as typical IP geolocation services. It can help with:
Internal security teams can harness the power of IP geolocation to block access coming from regions where their companies don’t provide services. That reduces their chances of becoming a victim of notorious threat sources. Router geolocation can also help companies steer clear of widespread threats like phishing and carding.
A few years back, security researchers revealed BGP-specific threats that router geolocation using an IP geolocation database may address. These include:
- BGP route manipulation: This occurs when a malicious device modifies the content of the BGP table to stop traffic from reaching its intended destination.
- BGP route hijacking: This happens when a rogue device reveals a victim’s prefixes to reroute traffic to or through itself. Traffic rerouting may cause instability in some networks due to sudden load increases. Thus, attackers can access potentially unencrypted traffic or use hijacked BGP traffic for spam campaigns that can bypass IP blacklisting policies.
- BGP denial-of-service (DoS): This ensues when a malicious device sends unexpected or undesirable BGP traffic to a victim, exhausting all resources and rendering the target system incapable of processing valid BGP traffic.
While many may not be aware of such threats, a notable example of a BGP attack is the YouTube outage back in 2008. In this case, BGP data that was supposed to block YouTube content in Pakistan was accidentally shared with service providers, causing a widespread outage.
Besides ensuring that your organization stays with the boundaries of location-specific privacy regulations and other laws, IP geolocation can also help it prevent the illegal consumption of content in unlicensed countries. Integrating an IP geolocation database into digital rights management (DRM) systems can limit content access to only certified subscribers. Doing so can also help you identify customers from regions such as the European Union (EU) whose data may require special treatment based on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) stipulations.
Through IP address counter checks between a customer list and an IP geolocation database, companies can ensure the security and integrity of every digital transaction. Any discrepancy between the saved IP information and current geolocation of a user can be considered a red flag. Further investigation can then immediately ensue to stop a fraudulent transaction before it can do harm.
Apart from allowing organizations to enjoy the benefits of geotargeting, geo-based redirection, and omnichannel marketing with the help of an IP geolocation database, IT teams can also ensure the protection of copyrighted content.
Internet Service Provision Expansion and Improvement
ISPs, telecommunications companies, and other connectivity providers rely heavily on router geolocation to improve their services. Mapping every user's location to ensure that they get uninterrupted, fast, and reliable service despite the topographical challenges that their areas may present is critical to every connectivity provider’s business.
Routers provide more accurate geolocation data than mobile devices. Infrastructure builders can thus count on router geolocation information from an IP geolocation database to lay down cables and put up network antennas in strategic locations to improve their services. They can also identify alternative routing paths should certain topographic elements (e.g., mountains and bodies of water) present too much of a hurdle.
Censorship and Monitoring Protocol Compliance
In some cases, Internet cables and similar infrastructure require traversing different countries or territories governed by varying degrees of censorship and monitoring. Since avoiding compliance to regulations isn’t a plausible course of action, infrastructure owners can use an IP geolocation database to accurately determine the areas and their corresponding policies where they plan to operate for compliance.
While your run-of-the-mill IP geolocation database may prove sufficient for cybersecurity, fraud detection, marketing, and sales use cases, networking research and infrastructure building may require more accurate sources of IP geolocation data. An IP geolocation database that distinguishes between connection types such as IP Geolocation Data Feed may thus be your best bet.