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Internet’s critical path horizon


Internet is known to display a highly heterogeneous structure and complex fluctuations in its traffic dynamics. Congestion seems to be an inevitable result of user’s behavior coupled to the network dynamics and it effects should be minimized by choosing appropriate routing strategies. But what are the requirements of routing depth in order to optimize the traffic flow? In this paper we analyse the behavior of Internet traffic with a topologically realistic spatial structure as described in a previous study [S.-H. Yook et al. , Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 99, 13382 (2002)]. The model involves self-regulation of packet generation and different levels of routing depth. It is shown that it reproduces the relevant key, statistical features of Internet’s traffic. Moreover, we also report the existence of a critical path horizon defining a transition from low-efficient traffic to highly efficient flow. This transition is actually a direct consequence of the web’s small world architecture exploited by the routing algorithm. Once routing tables reach the network diameter, the traffic experiences a sudden transition from a low-efficient to a highly-efficient behavior. It is conjectured that routing policies might have spontaneously reached such a compromise in a distributed manner. Internet would thus be operating close to such critical path horizon.

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Correspondence to R. V. Solé.

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Received: 22 December 2003, Published online: 14 May 2004


89.75.-k Complex systems - 05.70.Ln Nonequilibrium and irreversible thermodynamics - 87.23.Ge Dynamics of social systems

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Valverde, S., Solé, R.V. Internet’s critical path horizon. Eur. Phys. J. B 38, 245–252 (2004).

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  • Direct Consequence
  • Spatial Structure
  • Statistical Feature
  • Traffic Flow
  • Network Dynamic