Long-term forecasting of Internet backbone traffic: Observations and initial models

Konstantina Papagiannaki, Nina Taft, Zhi Li Zhang, Christophe Diot

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


We introduce a methodology to predict when and where link additions/upgrades have to take place in an IP backbone network. Using SNMP statistics, collected continuously since 1999, we compute aggregate demand between any two adjacent PoPs and look at its evolution at time scales larger than one hour. We show that IP backbone traffic exhibits visible long term trends, strong periodicities, and variability at multiple time scales. Our methodology relies on the wavelet multiresolution analysis and linear time series models. Using wavelet multiresolution analysis, we smooth the collected measurements until we identify the overall long-term trend. The fluctuations around the obtained trend are further analyzed at multiple time scales. We show that the largest amount of variability in the original signal is due to its fluctuations at the 12 hour time scale. We model inter-PoP aggregate demand as a multiple linear regression model, consisting of the two identified components. We show that this model accounts for 98% of the total energy in the original signal, while explaining 90% of its variance. Weekly approximations of those components can be accurately modeled with low-order AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models. We show that forecasting the long term trend and the fluctuations of the traffic at the 12 hour time scale yields accurate estimates for at least six months in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1188
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
StatePublished - Aug 29 2003
Event22nd Annual Joint Conference on the IEEE Computer and Communications Societies - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 30 2003Apr 3 2003


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