Small-World Internet Topologies: Possible Causes and Implications on Scalability of End-System Multicast
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Recent work has shown the prevalence of small-world phenomena  in many networks. Small-world graphs exhibit a high degree of clustering, yet have typically short path lengths between arbitrary vertices. Internet AS-level graphs have been shown to exhibit small-world behaviors . In this paper, we show that both Internet AS-level and router-level graphs exhibit small-world behavior. We attribute such behavior to two possible causes–namely the high variability of vertex degree distributions (which were found to follow approximately a power law ) and the preference of vertices to have local connections. We show that both factors contribute with different relative degrees to the small-world behavior of AS-level and router-level topologies. Our findings underscore the inefficacy of the Barabasi-Albert model  in explaining the growth process of the Internet, and provide a basis for more promising approaches to the development of Internet topology generators. We present such a generator and show the resemblance of the synthetic graphs it generates to real Internet AS-level and router-level graphs. Using these graphs, we have examined how small-world behaviors affect the scalability of end-system multicast. Our findings indicate that lower variability of vertex degree and stronger preference for local connectivity in small-world graphs results in slower network neighborhood expansion, and in longer average path length between two arbitrary vertices, which in turn results in better scaling of end system multicast.