Quad9 Server Location(s)

Karthikeyan
May 11, 2018 · 4 min read

I love Quad9’s service & am continuing to use it over my ISP, CloudFlare, Google and numerous other DNS service providers as Quad9 is both swift & safer.

I had a quick question, as per this tweet, Quad9 have a server in Mumbai, India & Columbo, Sri Lanka; which are closer to Chennai. However, I did a trace route and noticed I’m being responded from Singapore.

I’m not sure why Singapore is preferred over within the country & neighboring country servers which are closer in terms of distance. I had few theories, then I recollected learning about international fiber optical networks and then it struck me!

and then it struck me!
Tracing route to dns.quad9.net [9.9.9.9]over a maximum of 30 hops:1     3 ms     2 ms     2 ms  R7000P [192.168.1.1]2     3 ms     3 ms     3 ms  XXX3     4 ms     6 ms     3 ms  broadband.actcorp.in [XXX]4     4 ms     3 ms     3 ms  broadband.actcorp.in [XXX]5     3 ms     3 ms     3 ms  XXX.STATIC-Chennai.vsnl.net.in [XXX]6     3 ms     3 ms     3 ms  XXX7     3 ms     3 ms     3 ms  ix-ae-4-2.tcore1.cxr-chennai.as6453.net [180.87.36.9]8    37 ms    36 ms    35 ms  if-ae-13-2.tcore1.svw-singapore.as6453.net [180.87.36.83]9    36 ms    35 ms    35 ms  if-ae-11-2.thar1.svq-singapore.as6453.net [180.87.98.37]10    35 ms    35 ms    36 ms  ae-6.r00.sngpsi05.sg.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.8.241]11    38 ms    35 ms    35 ms  ae-10.r20.sngpsi05.sg.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.7.18]12    36 ms    36 ms    35 ms  ae-3.r20.sngpsi07.sg.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.34]13    36 ms    36 ms    36 ms  ae-1.r01.sngpsi03.sg.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.4.175]14    36 ms    36 ms    37 ms  ge-100-0-0-11.r01.sngpsi03.sg.ce.gin.ntt.net [116.51.27.54]15    35 ms    36 ms    35 ms  dns.quad9.net [9.9.9.9]Pinging 9.9.9.9 with 32 bytes of data:Reply from 9.9.9.9: bytes=32 time=36ms TTL=50Reply from 9.9.9.9: bytes=32 time=36ms TTL=50Reply from 9.9.9.9: bytes=32 time=37ms TTL=50Reply from 9.9.9.9: bytes=32 time=35ms TTL=50Ping statistics for 9.9.9.9:Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 37ms, Average = 36ms

My ISP ACT Broadband is routing to Tata Communications/VSNL, this is expected as Tata is the Tire-1 with a landing in Chennai.

I hope there is a national optical fiber network which connects Mumbai & Chennai; and I know as a matter of fact that TIISCS directly connects Chennai with Singapore with its submarine fiber optic cable.

Then I looked into the cable landing points in India and the various international cables that touches each of the nodes.

Chennai is a cable landing point for 4 cables (more on this later)

  • BBG — This is not used as Chennai needs to connect to Malaysia to reach Sri Lanka and then Mumbai
  • i2i — Possible as this is direct Chennai to Singapore, also connects with SMW3; owned by Airtel though
  • SeaMeWe-4 — Connects directly from Chennai to Sri Lanka & Singapore and then Sri Lanka to Mumbai; owned by many including Tata and Airtel
  • TIISCS/TIC — As stated earlier, direct Chennai to Singapore, Tata owned

So with BBG & i2i removed from the equation, the remaining two directly connects Chennai with Singapore where TATA has its presence. Now I understood why my queries are routed the way it was.

Anyways, no matter which provider I choose, its more or less of the same story.

Ping statistics for 9.9.9.9:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 36ms, Average = 35ms
Ping statistics for 1.0.0.1:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 36ms, Average = 35ms
Ping statistics for 1.1.1.1:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 35ms, Maximum = 36ms, Average = 35ms
Ping statistics for 8.8.8.8:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 36ms, Maximum = 36ms, Average = 36ms

Since there is not much of a difference between the top services, I’m going with the safety net of Quad9 over the others. Whatever it is, even while I’m getting 1–2ms pings from my ISP’s DNS, sometimes even 0ms! I’m not going to use their DNS. I’m using VPN with/or DNSSEC/DNSoTLS service providers just because I can and I prefer it that way.

International Fiber Optic Cable Landing Count:

  • Mumbai — 12
  • Chennai — 4
  • Cochin — 2
  • Thiruvananthapuram — 1
  • Puducherry — 1 (TBF)

As per https://www.quad9.net/12-new-quad9-cities, I understand and support their ideology; but I secretly wish that they put up one more server for India in Chennai.

Mumbai can act for the north India while Chennai can cater to South. Anyways, I’m quite happy with where Chennai is at, in the large scheme of things.

Quad9 Global Server Locations

Karthikeyan

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