Cellular data network infrastructure characterization and implication on mobile content placement

Qiang Xu, Junxian Huang, Zhaoguang Wang, Feng Qian, Alexandre Gerber, Z. Morley Mao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the tremendous growth in the cellular data network usage due to the popularity of smartphones, so far there is rather limited understanding of the network infrastructure of various cellular carriers. Understanding the infrastructure characteristics such as the network topology, routing design, address allocation, and DNS service configuration is essential for predicting, diagnosing, and improving cellular network services, as well as for delivering content to the growing population of mobile wireless users. In this work, we propose a novel approach for discovering cellular infrastructure by intelligently combining several data sources, i.e., server logs from a popular location search application, active measurements results collected from smartphone users, DNS request logs from a DNS authoritative server, and publicly available routing updates. We perform the first comprehensive analysis to characterize the cellular data network infrastructure of four major cellular carriers within the U.S. in our study. We conclude among other previously little known results that the current routing of cellular data traffic is quite restricted, as it must traverse a rather limited number (i.e., 4-6) of infrastructure locations (i.e., GGSNs), which is in sharp contrast to wireline Internet traffic. We demonstrate how such findings have direct implications on important decisions such as mobile content placement and content server selection. We observe that although the local DNS server is a coarse-grained approximation on the user's network location, for some carriers, choosing content servers based on the local DNS server is accurate enough due to the restricted routing in cellular networks. Placing content servers close to GGSNs can potentially reduce the end-to-end latency by more than 50% excluding the variability from air interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGMETRICS'11 - Proceedings of the 2011 ACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems
Pages317-328
Number of pages12
Edition1 SPEC. ISSUE
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2011 ACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, SIGMETRICS'11 - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 7 2011Jun 11 2011

Publication series

NamePerformance Evaluation Review
Number1 SPEC. ISSUE
Volume39
ISSN (Print)0163-5999

Other

Other2011 ACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, SIGMETRICS'11
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA
Period6/7/116/11/11

Keywords

  • Cellular network architecture
  • GGSN placement
  • Mobile content delivery

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