Have you ever wondered where your video comes from when you watch Netflix? We serve video streams out of our own content delivery network (CDN), called Open Connect, which is tailored to one specific application: delivering internet TV to our members around the world. This system is the cornerstone of every Netflix video experience -- serving 100% of our video, over 125 million hours every day, to 100 million members across the globe! In this post, we introduce some of the challenges in the content-delivery space where our data science and engineering teams collaborate to optimize the Netflix service. In order to provide the best video experience to all of our members -- with peak traffic of several tens of terabits per second -- Open Connect deploys and operates thousands of servers, which we call Open Connect Appliances or OCAs, throughout the world.
Chinchali, Sandeep (Stanford University) | Hu, Pan (Stanford University) | Chu, Tianshu (Uhana, Inc. ) | Sharma, Manu (Uhana, Inc.) | Bansal, Manu (Uhana, Inc.) | Misra, Rakesh (Uhana, Inc.) | Pavone, Marco (Stanford University) | Katti, Sachin (Stanford University)
Modern mobile networks are facing unprecedented growth in demand due to a new class of traffic from Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart wearables and autonomous cars. Future networks must schedule delay-tolerant software updates, data backup, and other transfers from IoT devices while maintaining strict service guarantees for conventional real-time applications such as voice-calling and video. This problem is extremely challenging because conventional traffic is highly dynamic across space and time, so its performance is significantly impacted if all IoT traffic is scheduled immediately when it originates. In this paper, we present a reinforcement learning (RL) based scheduler that can dynamically adapt to traffic variation, and to various reward functions set by network operators, to optimally schedule IoT traffic. Using 4 weeks of real network data from downtown Melbourne, Australia spanning diverse traffic patterns, we demonstrate that our RL scheduler can enable mobile networks to carry 14.7% more data with minimal impact on existing traffic, and outpeforms heuristic schedulers by more than 2x. Our work is a valuable step towards designing autonomous, "self-driving" networks that learn to manage themselves from past data.
Currently, the world is witnessing a mounting avalanche of data due to the increasing number of mobile network subscribers, Internet websites, and online services. This trend is continuing to develop in a quick and diverse manner in the form of big data. Big data analytics can process large amounts of raw data and extract useful, smaller-sized information, which can be used by different parties to make reliable decisions. In this paper, we conduct a survey on the role that big data analytics can play in the design of data communication networks. Integrating the latest advances that employ big data analytics with the networks control/traffic layers might be the best way to build robust data communication networks with refined performance and intelligent features. First, the survey starts with the introduction of the big data basic concepts, framework, and characteristics. Second, we illustrate the main network design cycle employing big data analytics. This cycle represents the umbrella concept that unifies the surveyed topics. Third, there is a detailed review of the current academic and industrial efforts toward network design using big data analytics. Forth, we identify the challenges confronting the utilization of big data analytics in network design. Finally, we highlight several future research directions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first survey that addresses the use of big data analytics techniques for the design of a broad range of networks.
Predicting the bandwidth utilization on network links can be extremely useful for detecting congestion in order to correct them before they occur. In this paper, we present a solution to predict the bandwidth utilization between different network links with a very high accuracy. A simulated network is created to collect data related to the performance of the network links on every interface. These data are processed and expanded with feature engineering in order to create a training set. We evaluate and compare three types of machine learning algorithms, namely ARIMA (AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average), MLP (Multi Layer Perceptron) and LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory), in order to predict the future bandwidth consumption. The LSTM outperforms ARIMA and MLP with very accurate predictions, rarely exceeding a 3\% error (40\% for ARIMA and 20\% for the MLP). We then show that the proposed solution can be used in real time with a reaction managed by a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) platform.
The exponential rise in mobile traffic originating from mobile devices highlights the need for making mobility management in future networks even more efficient and seamless than ever before. Ultra-Dense Cellular Network vision consisting of cells of varying sizes with conventional and mmWave bands is being perceived as the panacea for the eminent capacity crunch. However, mobility challenges in an ultra-dense heterogeneous network with motley of high frequency and mmWave band cells will be unprecedented due to plurality of handover instances, and the resulting signaling overhead and data interruptions for miscellany of devices. Similarly, issues like user tracking and cell discovery for mmWave with narrow beams need to be addressed before the ambitious gains of emerging mobile networks can be realized. Mobility challenges are further highlighted when considering the 5G deliverables of multi-Gbps wireless connectivity, <1ms latency and support for devices moving at maximum speed of 500km/h, to name a few. Despite its significance, few mobility surveys exist with the majority focused on adhoc networks. This paper is the first to provide a comprehensive survey on the panorama of mobility challenges in the emerging ultra-dense mobile networks. We not only present a detailed tutorial on 5G mobility approaches and highlight key mobility risks of legacy networks, but also review key findings from recent studies and highlight the technical challenges and potential opportunities related to mobility from the perspective of emerging ultra-dense cellular networks.