Networking around the World

Realization that the Internet world is not flat

The past few weeks I have been out of my home country (USA) and working on an international project. I find these more interesting than typical projects in the US because they represent an opportunity to explore new places and learn about new cultures. I arrived in this country at night and went directly to the hotel. In the morning when I opened up my web browser I was greeted with a clear indication that I was not in my home country.

I had an Ah-Ha moment this week when I was overseas and I opened up my web browser to see the following Google page. I guess I should have expected this even though my browser probably has some setting that defines by preferred language as English. I think it is cool that Google customizes its content for local languages and customs.


Then when I went to iGoogle I saw this page.


Try to guess where I have been this week.

We know that Google uses Citrix NetScaler 9800 server load balancing systems with built in DNS-based GSLB. Google must be performing whois lookups on the user's DNS resolver and is determining what region or country I am in and then answering back with the A-record of a web server cluster that is providing the localized content in the correct format and language that the browser correctly understands. This is very fascinating how this takes place in a manner of seconds.

I started to do some investigation about where the web server that I was connected to is located. I started that the logical first step and did an nslookup. From my new location I get returned a different set of DNS A records for than when I am in my home town. This is what I got while traveling.

C:\Users\Scott>nslookup Server: [] Address:

Non-authoritative answer: Name: Addresses: Aliases:

When I am in my home town this is what I typically see.

C:\Users\Scott>nslookup Server: Address:

Non-authoritative answer: Name: Addresses: Aliases:

I tried another test using VisualRoute 2009. This is a useful tool when performing analysis across the Internet. VisualRoute is a useful utility that performs ping, traceroute, whois lookups, and provides the hop-by-hop timing information and shows a geographical world map. VisualRoute showed that I was actually connecting to a web server in Mountain View California.


While I really enjoyed my time abroad I must admit that it is nice to be back home. The next time you are in a different country look for signs like this that indicate that your web content is being customized for local languages and customs.


Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in