The AS-level topology of the Internet has been quite a hot research topic in the last few years. However, only a small number of studies have been developed that give a structural interpretation of this graph. Such an interpretation is crucially important in order to test protocols and optimal routing algorithms, to design efficient networks, and for failure detection purposes. Moreover, most research does not highlight the role that IXPs have on the AS-level structure of the Internet, although their role is recognized as fundamental.
The initial contribution of this study is an analysis of the most important AS-level topologies that are publicly found on the web and an analysis of the topology obtained when they are merged. We compiled structural information from this topology making considerable use of the k-core decomposition technique to delineate various particular classes of nodes. Next, we associated node properties with a reasonable modus operandi of the ASs on the Internet. The second contribution is a study of the impact that ASs connected to IXPs and BGP connections crossing IXPs have on the AS-level topology. To achieve this, we developed a procedure to gather reliable information related to IXPs and their participants.