December 20, 2015

Shortest Path versus Multi-Hub Routing in Networks with Uncertain Demand

  • Frechette A.
  • Shepherd Bruce
  • Thottan M.
  • Winzer P.

We study a class of robust network design problems motivated by the need to scale core networks to meet increasingly2 dynamic capacity demands. Past work has focused on designing the network to support all hose matrices (all matrices not exceeding marginal bounds at the nodes). This model may be too conservative if additional information on traffic patterns is available. Another extreme is the fixed demand model, where one designs the network to support peak point-to-point demands. We introduce a capped hose model to explore a broader range of traffic matrices which includes the above two as special cases. It is known that optimal designs for the hose model are always determined by single-hub routing, and for the fixed-demand model are based on shortest-path routing. We shed light on the wider space of capped hose matrices, in order to see which traffic models are more shortest path-like as opposed to hub-like. In order to address the space in between, we use hierarchical multi-hub routing templates, a generalization of hub and tree routing. In particular, we show that by adding peak capacities into the hose model, the single-hub tree-routing template is no longer cost-effective. This initiates the study of a class of robust network design (RND) problems restricted to these templates. Our empirical analysis is based on a heuristic for this new hierarchical RND problem. We also propose that it is possible to definite a routing indicator that accounts for the strengths of the marginals and peak demands and use this information to choose the appropriate routing template. We benchmark our approach against other well-known routing templates, using representative carrier networks and a variety of different capped hose traffic demands, parameterized by the relative importance of their marginals as opposed to their point-to-point peak demands. This study also reveals conditions under which multi-hub routing gives improvements over single-hub and shortest-path routings.

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