2002
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Network Science

Modeling the internet’s large-scale topology

Abstract
Network generators that capture the Internet’s large-scale topology are crucial for the development of efficient routing protocols and modeling Internet traffic. Our ability to design realistic generators is limited by the incomplete understanding of the fundamental driving forces that affect the Internet’s evolution. By combining several independent databases capturing the time evolution, topology, and physical layout of the Internet, we identify the universal mechanisms that shape the Internet’s router and autonomous system level topology. We find that the physical layout of nodes form a fractal set, determined by population density patterns around the globe. The placement of links is driven by competition between preferential attachment and linear distance dependence, a marked departure from the currently used exponential laws. The universal parameters that we extract significantly restrict the class of potentially correct Internet models and indicate that the networks created by all available topology generators are fundamentally different from the current Internet.

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