Small-time scaling behaviors of Internet backbone traffic: An empirical study

Zhi Li Zhang, Vinay J. Ribeiro, Sue Moon, Christophe Diot

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


We study the small-time (sub-seconds) scaling behaviors of Internet backbone traffic, based on traces collected from OC3/12/48 links in a tier-1 ISP. We observe that for a majority of these traces, the (second-order) scaling exponents at small time scales (1ms - 100ms) are fairly close to 0.5, indicating that traffic fluctuations at these time scales are (nearly) uncorrelated. In addition, the traces manifest mostly monofractal behaviors at small time scales. The objective of the paper is to understand the potential causes or factors that influence the small-time scalings of Internet backbone traffic via empirical data analysis. We analyze the traffic composition of the traces along two dimensions - flow size and flow density. Our study uncovers dense flows (i.e., flows with bursts of densely clustered packets) as the correlation-causing factor in small time scales, and reveals that the traffic composition in terms of proportions of dense vs. sparse flows plays a major role in influencing the small-time scalings of aggregate traffic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1826-1836
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
StatePublished - 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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