Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Scaling Properties of the Internet Graph

Aditya Akella, Shuchi Chawla, Arvind Kannan, Srinivasan Seshan

May 2003

Keywords: Power-law distribution, congestion, shortest path routing, policy routing

May 2003

As the Internet grows in size, it becomes crucial to understand how the speeds of links in the network must improve in order to sustain the pressure of new end-nodes being added each day. Although the speeds of links in the core and at the edges roughly improve according to Moore's law, this improvement alone might not be enough. Indeed, the structure of the Internet graph and routing in the network might necessitate much faster improvements in the speeds of key links in the network.

In this paper, using a combination of analysis and extensive simulations, we show that the worst congestion in the Internet in fact scales poorly with the network size n^(1+Omega(1)), where n is the number of nodes), when shortest-path routing is used. We also show, somewhat surprisingly, that policy-based routing does not exacerbate the maximum congestion when compared to shortest-path routing.

Our results show that it is crucial to identify ways to alleviate this congestion to avoid some links from being perpetually congested. To this end, we show that the congestion scaling properties of the Internet graph can be improved dramatically by introducing moderate amounts of redundancy in the graph in terms of the edges between pairs of nodes.

18 pages

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