Network security vendor Arbor Networks is collaborating with more than 100 ISPs worldwide to create a more comprehensive Internet monitoring system.

The newly enhanced 'Net monitoring system, dubbed ATLAS 2.0 by Arbor Networks, now monitors and collects real-time data for global Internet traffic, routing and application performance. Previously, Arbor says the ATLAS system had been used mostly to collect data on security-related traffic such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack traffic.

Arbor decided to expand its ATLAS system to more general Internet monitoring to help its client ISPs gather more business intelligence on the traffic and application trends that guide service providers' business decisions. With more information on global traffic and application trends, Arbor says that ISPs can make smarter decisions about planning their network capacity and managing peer-to-peer traffic.

The new ATLAS system is a collaborative effort that culls data from more than 100 ISPs, Arbor says, including British Telecom, Australian provider Netgen Networks and Indian provider Tata Communications. As part of their agreement with Arbor, all ISPs participating in the ATLAS system must share anonymous traffic data with one another on an hourly basis.

Arbor says that the wide variety of ISPs participating in the program means that the ATLAS system monitors and reports on Internet transit traffic at a rate of more than 3 Terabits per second.

Phil Sykes, a managing director at Nextgen Networks, says that the ATLAS system gives his company "actionable intelligence that improves business decisions around capacity planning, selection of content partners and optimal peering relationships."

Gray Williams, who serves as Tata Communications' general manager for managed security services, said that his company was using ATLAS to improve its global security intelligence platform by monitoring web traffic trends that occur outside of its own network.

Arbor has traditionally specialized in delivering threat analyses for ISPs and in guarding service provider networks from security threats such as DDoS attacks, botnets and worms.