Joining PlanetLab Europe

PlanetLab Europe is organized as a Consortium of academic, industrial, and government institutions. Institutions join PlanetLab Europe by taking the steps listed below. Individuals who want to use PlanetLab Europe must arrange to do so through their home institution.

Click here for a list of sites currently hosting PlanetLab nodes.

Review Documents

To begin the process, read the following consortium documents:

  • Node Requirements: This document outlines the node requirements for every PlanetLab Europe site.
  • Hosting Responsibilities: This document outlines the responsibilities of a site that hosts PlanetLab nodes. All Consortium members (except at the Sponsor level) are expected to maintain at least one site with each site consisting of at least two PlanetLab Europe nodes.
  • Acceptable Use Policy: This document outlines permitted uses of PlanetLab, and the role each site plays in enforcing these rules.
  • PlanetLab Europe Membership Agreement This document outlines the responsibilities, obligations, and benefits of membership. A full agreement is generated as you follow the application procedure.

Apply for Membership

Register your institution and initial site by filling in the New Site Registration Form. (Note that the site uses a self-signed certificate and warnings from are normal.) As part of this process, a PDF of the Membership Agreement will be generated for you. Your application will be processed when you return a signed copy of this agreement. You will need to supply the following information about your institution:

  • Membership Type (Charter, Full, Associate, etc.)
  • Institution Name
  • Institution Address
  • Institution URL

All members (except at the Sponsor level) also need to supply the following information about their initial site.

  • Site Name (usually the same as the Institution name)
  • Site Address (physical address)
  • Site URL (a more specific URL of your department or project)
  • Site geo-location (latitude/longitude - expressed as signed decimals)

You will also need to supply contact information (name, address, phone, fax, personal URL, and e-mail) for these roles:

  • Principal Investigator is the person who accepts responsibility for researchers at your site. It is often a professor/lead researcher and must be an employee of your institution. Be sure that they read the Principal Investigator Guide which describes their roles and responsibilities.
  • Authorized Official is the person who can bind your institution contractually/legally. It is often the president or contracting officer. Even though academic and non-profit institutions do not pay a membership fee, we still require the signature of an authorized official.
  • Technical Contact is the person we should contact when a node goes down or when an incident occurs. This is commonly a system administrator or graduate student. Their roles and responsibilities are described in the Technical Contact's Guide.

Note that these roles do not have to be distinct people. For example, it is not uncommon for the Principal Investigator to be the same person as the Technical Contact.

It is essential that each institution, even if it does not pay dues, contractually engage to meet the site responsibilities and to hold its researchers to the acceptable use policy. We encourage Principal Investigators to seek out the highest possible official, to explain the importance of conducting network research in the real Internet, the risks that alarms might be raised by experimental traffic, and the safeguards that PlanetLab Europe has put in place to ensure accountability and rapid resolution of any incidents that might arise. Early understanding and support at the highest level will help later, if an incident does occur.

A member of the PlanetLab Europe support team will contact the Principal Investigator by email to establish contact, confirm the information provided, and respond to any questions.

A PDF of the Membership Agreement will be generated and sent to the Principal Investigator, who will ensure that two copies are printed and correctly signed both by themselves and the Authorizing Official, and sent to the PlanetLab Europe support team by post.

Once the Membership Agreement has been signed by both parties (your institution and UPMC, which represents the PlanetLab Europe Consortium), a member of the PlanetLab Europe support team will enable your site and contact the Principal Investigator by email with instructions of how to enable user accounts and install the required hardware.

When the required hardware has been correctly installed, your site’s slice creation rights will be enabled and you can begin creating slices and running experiments on the PlanetLab Europe testbed.

If you have questions about the PlanetLab Europe Consortium, contact

Connect Machines

When your application is approved, all the persons listed above (except the Authorized Official) will receive e-mail notification. You will receive notification within 30 days of our receiving the signed agreement.

Once your membership application is approved, the second step is to connect machines at your institution to the PlanetLab infrastructure.

The connection process is documented in the Technical Contact's Guide. (If there are network administrators at your site that might be involved in supporting your PlanetLab nodes, have them read the Technical Contact's Guide as well.)

Some of the steps are outlined below:

  • Acquire at least two server-class machines that meet the Minimum Hardware Requirements. We strongly recommend selecting machines from the list of machines that are known to work. We cannot ensure that machines that have not been certified will run the PlanetLab software.
  • Installation of PlanetLab software on these machines will completely initialize the hard disk, destroying any information already existing on them.
  • Get static IP addresses (whether assigned via DHCP or manually) for each of the above machines.
  • Get DNS entries (forward and reverse) for each of the above machines.
  • Machines must be outside firewalls, not NAT'ed, and be subject to as few traffic restrictions as possible. The Network Requirements section describes these requirements in more detail.
  • Provide a "remote management" service so that PLC can reboot and/or power-cycle the machines when they are not accessible through the network. The Specific PCUs section describes these requirements in more detail.
  • Install software on each machine, as outlined in the Installing a Node section, to connect it to PlanetLab Europe.

If you need technical assistance connecting your machines to the PlanetLab Europe infrastructure, contact