Demo: Crawling the IPFS Network

Author: Henningsen. S., Rust, R., Florian, M., & Scheuermann, B.
Published in: IFIP, Proc. of IFIP Networking (pp. 679-680). Amsterdam, Netherlands: IFIP.
Year: 2020
Type: Book contributions and chapters

IPFS is a distributed data storage service frequently used by blockchain applications and for sharing content in a censorship-resistant manner. Data is hosted by an open set of peers, pointers to both are distributed using a Kademliabased distributed hash table (DHT). In this demo, we present a crawler for the IPFS overlay network (ipfs_crawler) that can be used to study and monitor the network’s structure. Therefore, ipfs_crawler is an important building block when assessing the state and health of the network, as the overlay network significantly influences the robustness and performance of IPFS. Specifically, ipfs_crawler systematically traverses the Kademlia DHT of IPFS to enumerate peers in the network and a subset of the connections between peers. Since network communication in IPFS is carried out through the libp2p networking library, ipfs_crawler can easily be adapted to crawl other libp2p-based networks.

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