Connection-level Analysis and Modeling of Network Traffic

Shriram Sarvotham, Rudolf Riedi, Richard Baraniuk

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

113 Scopus citations


Most network traffic analysis and modeling studies lump all connections together into a single flow. Such aggregate traffic typically exhibits long-range-dependent (LRD) correlations and non-Gaussian marginal distributions. Importantly, in a typical aggregate traffic model, traffic bursts arise from many connections being active simultaneously. In this paper, we develop a new framework for analyzing and modeling network traffic that moves beyond aggregation by incorporating connection-level information. A careful study of many traffic traces acquired in different networking situations reveals (in opposition to the aggregate modeling ideal) that traffic bursts typically arise from just a few high-volume connections that dominate all others. We term such dominating connections alpha traffic. Alpha traffic is caused by large file transmissions over high bandwidth links and is extremely bursty (non-Gaussian). Stripping the alpha traffic from an aggregate trace leaves a beta traffic residual that is Gaussian, LRD, and shares the same fractal scaling exponent as the aggregate traffic. Beta traffic is caused by both small and large file transmissions over low bandwidth links. In our alpha/beta traffic model, the heterogeneity of the network resources give rise to burstiness and heavy-tailed connection durations give rise to LRD. Queuing experiments suggest that the alpha component dictates the tail queue behavior for large queue sizes, whereas the beta component controls the tail queue behavior for small queue sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
EventProceedings of the First ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop: IMW 2001 - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 1 2001Nov 2 2001


OtherProceedings of the First ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop: IMW 2001
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Animal kingdom
  • Network traffic modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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