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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 is studied. We observe that for a majority of these traces, the (second-order) scaling exponents at small time scales (1 ms - 100 ms) 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.
Date of Conference: 30 March-3 April 2003