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M247 misrepresenting true location of Barcelona Phoenix and Berlin Air Servers

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Hello,
Recently I have noticed that it looks like the Phoenix AirVPN servers (Bootes, Chalawan, Indus, Phoenix, Virgo) , Berlin AirVPN Server (Cujam) , and Barcelona AirVPN server (Eridanus) are not actually located where M247 claims they are located, and it appears M247 is misrepresenting the locations of these servers


If you go to the status page of any "Phoenix" server for example
https://airvpn.org/servers/Bootes/

you will see the latencies to other cities where AirVPN has servers, and it shows 0ms to Los Angeles, that wouldn't be physically possible if the Phoenix servers were truly located in Phoenix.
This points to the Phoenix servers truly being hosted in Los Angeles

Additionally, on a personal VPS server of mine which is located in Los Angeles, I get less than 1ms latency between my VPS in Los Angeles to the AirVPN "Phoenix" servers, which, again, points to the Phoenix servers truly being in Los Angeles, because this 1ms latency would not be physically possible between Los Angeles and Phoenix


And if you go to the status page of the "Berlin" server
https://airvpn.org/servers/Cujam/
It shows 0ms latency to Frankfurt, also not physically possible
This points to the Berlin servers really being in Frankfurt

And if you go to the status page of the "Barcelona" server
https://airvpn.org/servers/Eridanus/
It shows 0ms latency to Madrid, again, not physically possible!
This points to the Barcelona servers truly being hosted in Madrid


M247 may say that if you do a WHOIS lookup on their Phoenix IP block, the description is "M247 Phoenix" but honestly this is not proof at all, as the network admins can set whatever netname and description they want when they're creating the inetnum object in their RIR's database.


For additional proof other than the "Berlin" , "Barcelona", and "Phoenix" that Air has from M247,



Here is M247's full list of locations according to their website

You can see that neither Berlin, Phoenix, or Barcelona is on this list.


https://m247.com/services/host/dedicated-servers/

From the website, their locations:

Europe:
Amsterdam, NL
Belgrade, RS
Brussels, BE
Bucharest, RO
Budapest, HU
Copenhagen, DK
Dublin, IE
Frankfurt, DE
London, UK
Manchester, UK
Madrid, ES
Milan, IT
Oslo, NO
Paris, FR
Prague, CZ
Sofia, BG
Stockholm, SE
Warsaw, PL
Vienna, AT
Zurich, CH

North America:
Dallas, TX, USA
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Miami, FL, USA
New York Metro Area, USA (Secaucus, NJ)
Montreal, QC, CA

Asia and Middle East:
Dubai, UAE
Hong Kong, HK
Singapore, SG
Tokyo, JP

Oceania:
Sydney, AU



Based on this information it is clear to see that M247 is misrepresenting the locations of AirVPN's Phoenix, Berlin, and Barcelona servers,


From being a customer of Air for as long as I have, I can tell that the Air staff are honest and they have provided and continue to provide a great and true service, this is extremely evident for example by looking at how AirVPN left France because of the concerning legal framework there, and why AirVPN does not operate in Poland or Italy for similar reasons, even though other VPNs gladly operate services in those countries. It's clear as day to see that AirVPN is not deceptive or untruthful at all, so I am absolutely not accusing Air at all of participating in this misrepresentation, it just seems to me like Air was duped by M247 into buying these servers that are reported to be in a different location than the one they are truly in.


So given that the 5 Phoenix AirVPN servers , the 1 Berlin server, and 1 Barcelona server are falsely geolocated, it would be good idea for Staff to replace those servers with ones that are actually in the reported locations, or just change the reported location of those servers in Eddie to reflect the true locations.

 

 

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Some more pertinent information I found on another thread about this topic on the forums here, thought I would paste this to even further demonstrate that these servers are not located where M247 claims they are.

all credits to user @Daniel15 as the below is originally his comment. Here's the link to his original comment on the other forum post if you want to read it there.

It's been nearly two weeks since my original post, please Staff do take a look at this post and comment, thanks.
 

Quote
On 12/16/2020 at 3:46 PM, GrandeGiovanni said:

M247 "Barcelona" location seems to really be in Madrid, and the M247 "Berlin" location seems to really be in Frankfurt.

Traceroute shows identical routes between each of these false locations and the real location they are in, not to mention that neither Phoenix, Barcelona, or Berlin appear on M247's list of locations on their website 


Thats what i also stumbled apon. The RTT from Frankfurt <--> Berlin are _the same_, there is simply no way that the Berlin server is located in Berlin as the hop before is Frankfurt with the exact RTT. If i got, lets say 50ms towards Frankfurt, no way i got 50ms towards Berlin when its routed via Frankfurt before as last hop. I wont say Air is lying on their side, but pretty sure M247 is.

 

On 12/16/2020 at 3:46 PM, GrandeGiovanni said:

I noticed recently that the M247 "Phoenix" location seems to really be located in Los Angeles


@GrandeGiovanni I'm pretty sure you're right, and it's fairly trivial to verify.


I have a server physically located in Los Angeles, in Psychz Networks' data center. If I ping Indus from that server, I get pings as low as ~0.40ms:


$ ping indus.airservers.org
PING indus.airservers.org (193.37.254.26) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 193.37.254.26 (193.37.254.26): icmp_seq=1 ttl=59 time=0.421 ms
64 bytes from 193.37.254.26 (193.37.254.26): icmp_seq=2 ttl=59 time=0.554 ms
64 bytes from 193.37.254.26 (193.37.254.26): icmp_seq=3 ttl=59 time=0.450 ms
64 bytes from 193.37.254.26 (193.37.254.26): icmp_seq=4 ttl=59 time=0.403 ms
^C
--- indus.airservers.org ping statistics ---
4 packets transmitted, 4 received, 0% packet loss, time 3004ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.403/0.457/0.554/0.058 ms
I don't want to post any links because I'm afraid the forum system will mark this reply as spam, but you can verify this result by searching Google for "Psychz looking glass" and going to their Los Angeles looking glass. It'll let you send pings from their LA network.

I can guarantee you that you will not get <0.5ms pings to a server that's physically in another location. I can't even get pings that low from one Los Angeles data center to othrer data centers in Los Angeles (ColoCrossing and QuadraNet)!
Even the best networks are limited by the speed of light. Ping times are round-trip time, so a ping of 0.4ms means it takes 0.2ms to reach the server. Even if you assume a perfect network where data can flow at the speed of light with zero delays (which in reality is not possible), 0.2ms multiplied by the speed of light is only around 60 kilometers. That's less than 1/10 of the distance from Los Angeles to Phoenix!

Fremont is around the same distance from Los Angeles as Phoenix. If I ping Aquila from the same server, the results are more what you'd expect for that distance:

$ ping aquila.airservers.org
PING aquila.airservers.org (199.249.223.129) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 199.249.223.129 (199.249.223.129): icmp_seq=1 ttl=57 time=10.5 ms
64 bytes from 199.249.223.129 (199.249.223.129): icmp_seq=2 ttl=57 time=10.4 ms
64 bytes from 199.249.223.129 (199.249.223.129): icmp_seq=3 ttl=57 time=9.98 ms
64 bytes from 199.249.223.129 (199.249.223.129): icmp_seq=4 ttl=57 time=9.89 ms
64 bytes from 199.249.223.129 (199.249.223.129): icmp_seq=5 ttl=57 time=10.5 ms
^C
--- aquila.airservers.org ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4005ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 9.885/10.258/10.544/0.270 ms
 
On 12/27/2020 at 10:01 AM, Staff said:

M247 servers in Phoenix operated by us are located in Phoenix, in the following Cogent datacenter:


From what I've seen so far, I can pretty much guarantee you that the servers are not in that data center. I've tried traceroutes from several providers using Cogent transit. If your VPN servers were actually on Cogent's network in Phoenix, I'd expect them to reach a Cogent router in Phoenix before seeing M247 in the traceroute, as Cogent will keep the traffic in their backbone network for as long as possible. However, in every single case I've seen, the traffic is only routed to Los Angeles on Cogent's network, before moving onto M247's network.

Perhaps the most telling is doing a traceroute from somewhere east of Phoenix. Here's a traceroute I did from Chicago to Indus via Cogent's looking glass:

traceroute to indus.airservers.org (193.37.254.26), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  gi0-0-0-15.99.agr21.ord01.atlas.cogentco.com (66.250.250.89)  0.733 ms  0.731 ms
 2  be2522.ccr42.ord01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.81.61)  1.145 ms  1.150 ms
 3  be2831.ccr21.mci01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.42.165)  12.541 ms be2832.ccr22.mci01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.44.169)  16.431 ms
 4  be3036.ccr22.den01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.31.89)  23.957 ms be3035.ccr21.den01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.5.89)  23.820 ms
 5  be3046.ccr21.elp01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.0.45)  36.725 ms be3047.ccr21.elp01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.1.125)  36.957 ms
 6  be2930.ccr32.phx01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.42.77)  44.976 ms be2929.ccr31.phx01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.42.65)  44.659 ms
 7  be2932.ccr42.lax01.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.45.162)  56.892 ms  56.898 ms
 8  be3359.ccr41.lax05.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.3.70)  56.621 ms be3243.ccr41.lax05.atlas.cogentco.com (154.54.27.118)  56.532 ms
 9  38.104.85.170 (38.104.85.170)  56.920 ms  56.904 ms
10  * *
11  vlan2909.as09.lax1.us.m247.com (193.9.115.169)  56.739 ms vlan2921.as09.lax1.us.m247.com (193.9.115.167)  56.890 ms
12  * *
13  * *
14  * *

Notice how hop 7 is going from Phoenix to Los Angeles? If the server was physically in Phoenix, there would be no reason to do that.

All signs point to this server being physically located in Los Angeles. There's a possibility that they terminate the network in Los Angeles and then have private backhaul (like a GRE tunnel) from LA to Phoenix, but I wouldn't bet on it, especially with the 0.4ms pings from Los Angeles.

 
On 12/16/2020 at 3:46 PM, GrandeGiovanni said:

M247 "Barcelona" location seems to really be in Madrid


I think you're correct about this too. I just got a VPS with a hosting provider with servers in Madrid (in the Interxion data center, using M247 as their transit provider) and pings to AirVPN "eridanus" are ~0.4ms. Similar to my Phoenix vs Los Angeles comment above, it's impossible to travel from Madrid to Barcelona in 0.4ms even at the speed of light. The actual ping time between a server in Barcelona and a server in Madrid should be around 7-9ms, which is what I see when I ping a server that's actually in Barcelona. You can see a comparison here: https://dnstools.ws/es/ping/lg.bcn.psychz.net,eridanus.airservers.org/ (these are ping times from a server in Madrid)

Furthermore, ping times from Italy to AirVPN "Eridanus" are higher than ping times to Psychz's looking glass in Barcelona, which is also a sign that the server is in Madrid (since Madrid is further from Italy than Barcelona).

 

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10 hours ago, Daniel15 said:

Thanks for posting about this. I never did get a response from the AirVPN staff about it.


Possibly meaning shit's real, and these findings are becoming credible.

The servers probably were in a certain location at provisioning time. Then got moved later when M247 combined some locations. My theory.

M247 is one of the few providers that had actually been mentioned in the forums in the past, and among all the mentions by far the most common one. At least it stands out to me, having watched the forums for eight years (not trying to brag, just putting it on a timeline). Usually you'd have more or less random problems with this and that server, varying by ISP.
But the counterpoint is, is there an alternative? You know, recently another data center in the UK was ruled out, servers partly replaced by M247. DCs seemingly are tired of being bombarded with abuse reports, and want to appear more genuine to the world, like "we don't support media piracy" or something. The playing field might just be shrinking for the "choosy" VPN providers, and M247 is one of the few global ones remaining which are still "compatible".

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On 9/8/2021 at 6:19 PM, OpenSourcerer said:

The servers probably were in a certain location at provisioning time. Then got moved later when M247 combined some locations. My theory.
 

Can decline that, M247 never had physical locations on these POPs, they were virtual from the beginning.
 
On 9/8/2021 at 6:19 PM, OpenSourcerer said:


M247 is one of the few providers that had actually been mentioned in the forums in the past, and among all the mentions by far the most common one.
But the counterpoint is, is there an alternative? You know, recently another data center in the UK was ruled out, servers partly replaced by M247. DCs seemingly are tired of being bombarded with abuse reports

True but it worked before M247 was so heavily used. You can find a provider if you want, you just have to search, but its more convinient for Air to aggregate at one provider (one invoice.. one support team.. more discount..).But there are also other big provider which doesnt give a damn about DMCA and still provide multiple locations, datapacket (cdn77) for example where IVPN has quite a few servers. I just dont like the concentration of M247..

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Posted ... (edited)

The server is not in Berlin. M247, AS9009 does not have peering in Berlin.
I checked with a looking glass run by a very nice person and it has multiple servers from different networks in Frankfurt and one server in Berlin. Apart from outsiders that have 14ms ping from allegedly FRA to FRA, most pings are ~1ms and confirm what traceroutes here show. The only lg Berlin server to Air's Cujam has got 8ms ping. That lg Berlin server is hosted on a network that's has peering at BCIX and ECIX-BER. Even if the Cujam server were 'physically in Berlin' then it doesn't matter because what matters to users is latency, alias geographic location.
Back to what M247 say themselves, all four German DCs are in Frankfurt: Ancotel (Equinix), Interxion FRA4, Telehouse Frankfurt, Global Switch Frankfurt
https://m247.com/services/host/dedicated-servers/ https://m247.com/services/cloud-hosting/ https://m247.com/services/host/colocation/
The only location in Germany on this map is Frankfurt.

I cannot thoroughly check Spain, but again AS9009 is at DE-CIX Madrid and doesn't appear to be present at DE-CIX Barcelona, two Madrid servers' pings are 0.3ms and 2ms to "Barcelona" Eridanus.

Whatever the reasons, the current descriptions are not representing the reality.

PS: Actually the entire prefix/subnet is reported as Berlin by M247. Hence the geolocation databases say it is "in Berlin", that's the definition of a "virtual location" right? Still I see how it could be useful in certain cases even though the server is not physically there. Until this is clearly indicated, it will be a shortcoming especially in terms of sincerity and transparency.

Edited ... by Stalinium
added PS

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