Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor's Name

Jason Liu

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Giri Narasimhan

Third Advisor's Name

Tao Li

Fourth Advisor's Name

Shaolei Ren

Fifth Advisor's Name

Gang Quan


Network Simulation, Background Traffic Modeling

Date of Defense



Network simulation is an indispensable tool for studying Internet-scale networks due to the heterogeneous structure, immense size and changing properties. It is crucial for network simulators to generate representative traffic, which is necessary for effectively evaluating next-generation network protocols and applications. With network simulation, we can make a distinction between foreground traffic, which is generated by the target applications the researchers intend to study and therefore must be simulated with high fidelity, and background traffic, which represents the network traffic that is generated by other applications and does not require significant accuracy. The background traffic has a significant impact on the foreground traffic, since it competes with the foreground traffic for network resources and therefore can drastically affect the behavior of the applications that produce the foreground traffic. This dissertation aims to provide a solution to meaningfully generate background traffic in three aspects. First is realism. Realistic traffic characterization plays an important role in determining the correct outcome of the simulation studies. This work starts from enhancing an existing fluid background traffic model by removing its two unrealistic assumptions. The improved model can correctly reflect the network conditions in the reverse direction of the data traffic and can reproduce the traffic burstiness observed from measurements. Second is scalability. The trade-off between accuracy and scalability is a constant theme in background traffic modeling. This work presents a fast rate-based TCP (RTCP) traffic model, which originally used analytical models to represent TCP congestion control behavior. This model outperforms other existing traffic models in that it can correctly capture the overall TCP behavior and achieve a speedup of more than two orders of magnitude over the corresponding packet-oriented simulation. Third is network-wide traffic generation. Regardless of how detailed or scalable the models are, they mainly focus on how to generate traffic on one single link, which cannot be extended easily to studies of more complicated network scenarios. This work presents a cluster-based spatio-temporal background traffic generation model that considers spatial and temporal traffic characteristics as well as their correlations. The resulting model can be used effectively for the evaluation work in network studies.


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