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Tutorials Program - SIGMETRICS 2001 / Performance 2001

Internet Traffic -- Characteristics and Models

Joachim Charzinski

Siemens Information and Communication Networks

A major portion of the traffic in present networks is Internet data traffic. This kind of traffic has characteristics quite different from the traffic known in yesterday's telecommunication (telephone) networks. Terms like "fractal", "self-similar" and "long-range dependent" are employed to describe the new traffic characteristics, to deter people from asking further questions and even to argue that the New Traffic cannot possibly be understood at all within any classical framework.

This tutorial sets the different observations into relation, describing causes responsible for the effects that are visible on different levels of observation. The implications of heavy tails are introduced and discussed in the context of measurement, characterization and traffic generation. Based on research results from the literature and our own measurements, we characterize different aspects of user, application and backbone traffic. Some modeling approaches and the resulting models for Internet traffic are discussed and practical advice is given for handling Internet traffic models in simulations.

Who should attend?
The tutorial is directed towards people interested in IP traffic phenomena. It will give an overview of user and application traffic characteristics to both researchers and performance engineers interested in understanding Internet traffic, simulating Internet users or applications or dimensioning IP based networks.

A notion of probability and a background in basic performance analysis is helpful but not required. Most of the presented effects and connections between them can be understood without

Joachim Charzinski is project leader for IP traffic characterization and engineering at Siemens Information and Communication Networks in Munich, Germany. His research interests include IP traffic characterization, user perceived quality of service, performance analysis and simulation, and protocol engineering. He received his Dipl.-Ing. and Dr.-Ing. degrees (approximately equivalent to MS and PhD) from University of Stuttgart, Germany, and joined Siemens in 1997.

[Last updated Tue Jan 2 2001]