Lying Your Way to Better Traffic Engineering

Marco Chiesa, Gábor Rétvári, Michael Schapira

To optimize the flow of traffic in IP networks, operators do traffic engineering (TE), i.e., tune routing-protocol parameters in response to traffic demands. TE in IP networks typically involves configuring static link weights and splitting traffic between the resulting shortest-paths via the Equal-Cost-MultiPath (ECMP) mechanism. Unfortunately, ECMP is a notoriously cumbersome and indirect means for optimizing traffic flow, often leading to poor network performance. Also, obtaining accurate knowledge of traffic demands as the input to TE is elusive, and traffic conditions can be highly variable, further complicating TE. We leverage recently proposed schemes for increasing ECMP's expressiveness via carefully disseminated bogus information ("lies") to design COYOTE, a readily deployable TE scheme for robust and efficient network utilization. COYOTE leverages new algorithmic ideas to configure (static) traffic splitting ratios that are optimized with respect to all (even adversarially chosen) traffic scenarios within the operator's "uncertainty bounds". Our experimental analyses show that COYOTE significantly outperforms today's prevalent TE schemes in a manner that is robust to traffic uncertainty and variation. We discuss experiments with a prototype implementation of COYOTE.

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