An Empirical Model of HTTP Network Traffic

Bruce A. Mah


The workload of the global Internet is dominated by the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), an application protocol used by World Wide Web clients and servers. Simulation studies of this environment will require a model of the traffic patterns of the World Wide Web, in order to investigate the performance aspects of this increasingly popular application. We have developed an empirical model of network traffic produced by HTTP. Instead of relying on server or client logs, our approach is based on gathering packet traces of HTTP network conversations. Through traffic analysis, we have determined statistics and distributions for higher-level quantities such as the size of HTTP items retrieved, the number of items per ``Web page'', think time, and user browsing behavior. These quantities form a model can then be used by simulations to mimic World Wide Web network applications in wide-area IP internetworks.


The current version of my datafiles and accompanying software is available as a tar file, and has a PGP-produced signature file signed with my PGP public key.

A paper on this work has been accepted to INFOCOM '97. It can be found on one of my Web pages. A PostScript rendition of an early version of the paper is available here (it has information that will not appear in the conference version, due to space limitations). Feel free to send me email with questions or comments.

There is another Postscript file available containing slides for an internal presentation I made at UC Berkeley.

Bruce A. Mah