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On Power-Law Relationships of the Internet Topology

Michalis Faloutsos
U.C. Riverside Dept. of Comp. Science

Petros Faloutsos
U. of Toronto Dept. of Comp. Science

Christos Faloutsos
Carnegie Mellon Univ. Dept. of Comp. Science

Despite the apparent randomness of the Internet, we discover some surprisingly simple power-laws of the Internet topology. These power-laws hold for three snapshots of the Internet, between November 1997 and December 1998, despite a 45% growth of its size during that period. We show that our power-laws fit the real data very well resulting in correlation coefficients of 96% or higher.

Our observations provide a novel perspective of the structure of the Internet. The power-laws describe concisely skewed distributions of graph properties such as the node outdegree. In addition, these power-laws can be used to estimate important parameters such as the average neighborhood size, and facilitate the design and the performance analysis of protocols. Furthermore, we can use them to generate and select realistic topologies for simulation purposes.

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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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