Maths research aims to improve internet reliability

Dec 13, 2010
An example of a network and traffic matrix

Mathematics researchers at the University of Adelaide are leading a new project aimed at improving the reliability and efficiency of Internet services.

The team includes researchers from AT&T Labs Research, the research arm of US-based global telecommunications company AT&T. They will synthesize Internet matrices - based on the patterns of real traffic - allowing network researchers to test designs of communication networks.

"People use the Internet for a range of purposes, from business to entertainment, and they want a reliable 24-hour service at reasonable cost," said Chief Investigator Associate Professor Matt Roughan, from the University's School of Mathematical Sciences.

"Internet traffic is complicated and all the different applications produce different types of traffic. It is like our road and freeway networks with a complex system of arterial and feeder routes. In traffic management and road planning, we need to know not just how much traffic there is, but where it's going and how a new road or block in an existing road may affect that traffic.

"A traffic matrix looks at the volume, movement and type of data traffic over all starting points and all destinations. There is a big array of numbers but, despite this complexity, Internet traffic displays simple patterns.

"This work is about discovering the mathematical underpinnings of these patterns and using them to generate new traffic matrices, against which network designs can be tested."

The project, 'Internet traffic-matrix synthesis', was awarded funding of $425,000 over three years in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects. The co-researcher is Dr. Walter Willinger, from the Information and Software Systems Research Center at AT&T Labs Research in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Associate Professor Roughan said the issue that network researchers had was not being able to use real Internet traffic data to test their designs because of commercial sensitivity and privacy issues.

"I must have seen 1000 research papers optimising designs of communication networks but this large area of research has been hampered by lack of data," he said. "If we can overcome this and have an agreed method for generating traffic matrices, this research will leap forward."

Associate Professor Roughan said this research will have significant implications for network providers who need to be able to make traffic predictions to build efficient reliable networks; for network researchers who need traffic matrices to test their designs; and in scientific understanding of what makes up traffic matrices.

"When we compare our synthetic traffic matrices with real matrices, we will be able to pick apart what's going on, which will help lead to new developments in terms of our understanding."

Explore further: Researchers help Boston Marathon organizers plan for 2014 race

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Strung along -- easing holiday traffic pain

Apr 02, 2010

This Easter, motorists will experience the familiar frustration of being stuck on a motorway in a stop-start traffic jam that eventually disperses with no apparent cause.

Kansas town traffic control goes wireless

Aug 29, 2005

The Kansas City suburb of Lenexa, Kan., has selected Alvarion Limited to deploy a wireless telephone and broadband network linking city traffic operations.

P2P traffic control

Jan 07, 2009

Could a concept from information technology familiar to online file sharers be exploited to reduce road congestion and even traffic accidents? That is the question answered in the affirmative by researchers in California, ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

21 hours ago

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.