bloXroute Labs
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bloXroute Labs

bloXroute’s Blockchain Distribution Network (BDN) Explorer

By bloXroute Labs Strategy & Operations Eleni Steinman

In November 2019 we launched the bloXroute BDN, a network of servers optimized for sending data fast in a blockchain. Today we released our BDN Explorer, real-time statistics on the BDN’s performance and those networks we support.

Below we explain the key elements of the BDN Explorer. If you’re interested in more details on how the BDN works, you can read about our architecture here.

Top Level Network Statistics

Relays Online: Relays form the backbone of the bloXroute BDN. Gateways connect to Relays to receive notifications of new transactions and blocks faster. bloXroute Relays are located around the globe at points optimized to provide faster propagation of transactions and blocks between Gateways. Gateways are owned and operated by end Users, not bloXroute, and peer with full nodes.

There are currently 10 relay pairs online: 10 transaction Relays and 10 Block Relays.

Average Propagation Time: Blocks are sent from Mining Nodes to Relays through Gateways, open-source software that acts as the entrypoint for blockchain clients, for fast propagation throughout the BDN.

The average propagation time is the average time it takes for the last Relay in the network to send the block to its last Gateway.

You can see the times each Relay in the network receives each block by clicking on the Block Hash in the Recent Blocks section at the bottom.

Recent Blocks
Relay Details

Compression Rate: The BDN effectively compresses blocks by propagating a 4-byte unique short identifier (SIDs) instead of the full transaction. It is able to do this because the BDN propagates transactions, indexes those transactions, assigns the SID, and broadcasts the SID to all Gateways and Relays. Blocks are reconstructed by receiving Gateways (i.e., replace SIDs with the original transactions) and delivered to the nodes for validation.

The compression rate is the average compression ratio (i.e., the size of the compressed block divided by the original size) for all blocks with more than 10 transactions. Empty blocks (or blocks with low number of transactions) are ignored.

BDN Efficiency

To measure how well our network is performing, we measure the percentage of blocks and transactions that Gateways hear first from the BDN rather than the peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

For example, in this 24-hour window, Gateways heard first from the BDN 90.4% of the time rather than the P2P network. Put another way, the BDN sent blocks faster than the P2P network to the Gateway 90.4% of the time.

Propagation — Last Hour

We also report the amount of time between when the first Relay in the network received a block or transaction and when the last Relay sent a block or transaction to the last Gateway. Hovering on the chart reveals the hash of the block that was sent, how long propagation took, and time (in your browser’s local time) at which the last Relay sent to the last Gateway the block or transaction.

The same statistics are reported for Block Compression Rate (shows the compression rate of a given block rather than the propagation time) and Transactions.

Recent Blocks

As noted above, we provide data for each block that was added to the chain. Some data fields we include are:

  • Time Stamp: Time the first Relay hears of the block.
  • BDN Origin: The country of the first Gateway that sent the block to the BDN.
  • Size: Size of the block in bytes (not compressed).
  • Transactions: Number of transactions contained in the block.
  • Compression Rate: Number of transactions that were replaced with an SID divided by the total number of transactions.
  • Propagation Time: Amount of time between when the first Relay in the network received a block or transaction and when the last Gateway received a block or transaction.

Clicking on the block hash shows you more detailed information about the block.

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