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Scaling of Multicast Trees: Comments on the Chuang-Sirbu scaling law

Graham Phillips
USC/Information Sciences Institute

Scott Shenker
International Computer Science Institute

Hongsuda Tangmunarunkit
USC/Information Sciences Institute

One of the many benefits of multicast, when compared to traditional unicast, is that multicast reduces the overall network load. While the importance of multicast is beyond dispute, there have been surprisingly few attempts to quantify multicast's reduction in overall network load. The only substantial and quantitative effort we are aware of is that of Chuang and Sirbu [3]. They calculate the number of links L in a multicast delivery tree connecting a random source to m random and distinct network sites; extensive simulations over a range of networks suggest that L(m) is proportional to m^0.8. In this paper we examine the function L(m) in more detail and derive the asymptotic form for L(m) in k-ary trees. These results suggest one possible explanation for the universality of the Chuang-Sirbu scaling behavior.

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The referenced paper appears in Computer Communication Review, a publication of ACM SIGCOMM, volume 29, number 4, October 1999.

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