Network Aware Forward Caching

Dan Pei
AT&T Research


This work proposes and evaluates a Network Aware Forward Caching approach for determining the optimal deployment strategy of forward caches to a network. A key advantage of this approach is that we can reduce the network costs associated with forward caching to maximize the benefit obtained from their deployment. We show in our simulation that a 37% increase to net benefits could be achieved over the standard method of full cache deployment to cache all POPs traffic. In addition, we show that this maximal point occurs when only 68% of the total traffic is cached. Another contribution of this work is the analysis we use to motivate and evaluate this problem. We characterize the Internet traffic of 100K subscribers of a US residential broadband provider. We use both layer 4 and layer 7 analysis to investigate the traffic volumes of the flows as well as study the general characteristics of the applications used. We show that HTTP is a dominant protocol and account for 68% of the total downstream traffic and that 34% of that traffic is multimedia. In addition, we show that multimedia content using HTTP exhibits an 83% annualized growth rate and other HTTP traffic has a 53% growth rate versus the 26% over all annual growth rate of broadband traffic. This shows that HTTP traffic will become ever more dominant and increase the potential caching opportunities. Furthermore, we characterize the core backbone traffic of this broadband provider to measure the distance travelled by content and traffic. We find that CDN traffic is much more efficient than P2P content and that there is large skew in the Air Miles between POP in a typical network. Our findings show that there are many opportunities in broadband provider networks to optimize how traffic is delivered and cached.