Automatic Topology Discovery System
Marina Antony, Graduate, Information Technology and Management
Carol Davids, Graduate, Information Technology and Management
Ruksana Patel, Graduate, Information Technology and Management
Bill Lidinsky, Alva C. Todd Professor and Assistant Director of Information Technology and Management
Students identified a problem in which a rogue computer could be introduced into the network by anyone who connects using an infected computer. Once the effects of a rogue computer are observed, it is important to quickly locate the malevolent machine and disconnect it from the network. The challenge, however, is that it is difficult to physically and topologically locate the computer.
Students innovated an Automatic Topology Discovery System (ATDS), a system for integrating the results of logical and physical network discovery techniques in order to obtain a real-time accurate set of network data. It is an operational system that uses the following: physical methods to visually inspect equipment; logical discovery methods to discover routers, switches, servers, hosts and printers on the network; manual scrub to compare the results of the physical and logical discovery methods; and, a customized user interface that allows a user to read from, write new or updated information to and query the database.
A database that contains this information and that can be updated in real time enables a network administrator to pinpoint the physical and logical points at which an attack is taking place. The ATDS not only affords the network administrator the ability to quickly locate a computer, but also provides timely data on the entire local network and its computers.
The ATDS integrates a low cost commercially available software tool (used for logical discovery) with a customized user interface. The customized user interface permits the user to query the system for a variety of network and host computer information.
This project was presented to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 as part of an IEEE student colloquium.