Modeling Topology of Large Internetworks

The explosive growth of internetworking, and particularly of the Internet, has been accompanied by a wide range of internetworking problems related to routing, resource reservation, and administration. The study of algorithms and policies to address such problems often involves simulation or analysis using an abstraction or model of the actual network structure and applications. The reason is clear: networks that are large enough to be interesting are also expensive and difficult to control; therefore they are rarely available for experimental purposes. Moreover, it is generally more efficient to assess solutions using analysis or simulation --- provided the model is a "good" abstraction of the real network and application. It is therefore rather remarkable that studies based on randomly-generated or trivial network models are so common, while rigorous analyses of how the results scale or how they can be applied to actual networks are extremely rare.

Over the next few years, important decisions will be made regarding the adoption of algorithms and placement of facilities in the Internet to support scaling to tens of thousands of administrative domains. The inputs to these decisions will include simulation and analyses based on models of networks and applications. Unfortunately, with the current state of the art it is very difficult to draw quantitative conclusions based upon such models; indeed, there is presently no theoretical basis for assessment of the accuracy of conclusions drawn from models. A primary objective of our work is therefore to support the study of large internetworks through scalable, realistic models of internetwork structure and applications. An additional objective is to apply and demonstrate the utility of our models in the development of novel multicast routing algorithms. Multicast routing is a critical and difficult problem within large scale internetworking, and serves as a driver for the rest of our work.

Our approach combines theoretical and experimental techniques. The first step is formulation of a rigorous definition of model fidelity. The second step is application of that definition in developing a set of modeling components, including:

The third step is calibration and refinement of the models: measurements from real networks and applications are used to validate the scalability and fidelity of the models, and additional levels of detail are added to the entire framework.




Contact information:

College of Computing, 801 Atlantic Drive
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0280
Telephone: +1 404 894 1403
Fax: +1 404 894 0272

Last updated 1997/5/26 (EWZ)