Wide-Area Traffic: The Failure of Poisson Modeling

TitleWide-Area Traffic: The Failure of Poisson Modeling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsPaxson, V., & Floyd S.
Published inIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Other Numbers1605

Network arrivals are often modeled as Poisson processes for analytic simplicity, even though a number of traffic studies have shown that packet interarrivals are not exponentially distributed. We evaluate 21 wide-area traces, investigating a number of wide-area TCP arrival processes (session and connection arrivals, FTPDATA connection arrivals within FTP sessions, and TELNET packet arrivals) to determine the error introduced by modeling them using Poisson processes. We find that user-initiated TCP session arrivals, such as remote-login and file-transfer, are well-modeled as Poisson processes with fixed hourly rates, but that other connection arrivals deviate considerably from Poisson; that modeling TELNET packet interarrivals as exponential grievously underestimates the burstiness of TELNET traffic, but using the empirical Tcplib [Danzig92] interarrivals preserves burstiness over many time scales; and that FTPDATA connection arrivals within FTP sessions come bunched into ``connection bursts'', the largest of which are so large that they completely dominate FTPDATA traffic. Finally, we offer some results regarding how our findings relate to the possible self-similarity of wide-area traffic.

Bibliographic Notes

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 226-244

Abbreviated Authors

V. Paxson and S. Floyd

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine