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Publications by Type: Journal and Magazine Articles

The changing nature of network traffic: scaling phenomena
Citation key FGWK-CNNTSP-98
Author Feldmann, Anja and Gilbert, Anna C. and Willinger Walter and Kurtz, T.G.
Pages 5–29
Year 1998
ISSN 0146-4833
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/279345.279346
Address New York, NY, USA
Journal ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review (CCR)
Volume 28
Number 2
Publisher ACM Press
Abstract In this paper, we report on some preliminary results from an in-depth, wavelet-based analysis of a set of high-quality, packet-level traffic measurements, collected over the last 6–7 years from a number of different working wide-area networks (WANs). We first validate and confirm an earlier finding, originally due to Paxson and Floyd [PF95], that actual WAN traffic is consistent with statistical self-similarity for sufficiently large time scales. We then relate this large-time scaling phenomenon to the empirically observed characteristics of WAN traffic at the level of individual connections or applications. We illustrate that TCP traffic characteristics have undergone major changes within the last 3–4 years, because of the increasing popularity of the Web (WWW) and its emergence as the major contributor to WAN traffic. Moreover, we show that these changes can be naturally accounted for by self-similar traffic models, primarily because of their ability to provide physical explanations for empirically observed traffic phenomena in a networking context. Second, we provide empirical evidence that actual WAN traffic traces also exhibit scaling properties over small time scales, but that the small-time scaling phenomenon is distinctly different from the observed large-time scaling property. We relate this newly observed characteristic of WAN traffic to the effects that the dominant network protocols (e.g., TCP) and controls have on the flow of packets across the network. Finally, we discuss the potential that multifractals have for providing a structural modeling approach for WAN traffic that captures in a compact and parsimonious manner the observed scaling phenomena at large as well as small time scales.
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