On Selfish Routing in Internet-Like Environments

TitleOn Selfish Routing in Internet-Like Environments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsQiu, L., Yang Y. Richard, Zhang Y., & Shenker S.
Published inIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Other Numbers3485

A recent trend in routing research is to avoid inefficiencies in network-level routing by allowing hosts to either choose routes themselves (e.g., source routing) or use overlay routing networks (e.g., Detour or RON). Such approaches result in selfish routing, because routing decisions are no longer based on system-wide criteria but are instead designed to optimize host-based or overlay-based metrics. A series of theoretical results showing that selfish routing can result in suboptimal system behavior have cast doubts on this approach. In this paper, we use a game-theoretic approach to investigate the performance of selfish routing in Internet-like environments based on realistic topologies and traffic demands in our simulations. We show that in contrast to theoretical worst cases, selfish routing achieves close to optimal average latency in such environments. However, such performance benefits come at the expense of significantly increased congestion on certain links. Moreover, the adaptive nature of selfish overlays can significantly reduce the effectiveness of traffic engineering by making network traffic less predictable.


This work was partially supported by funding provided to ICSI and its researchers through National Science Foundation grants ANI: 0196514 (originally 9730162, "Learning and the Design of the Internet"); CCF: 0121555 ("Discrete Models and Algorithms in the Sciences"); CNS: 0207399 ("Incentive-Compatible Designs for Distributed Systems"); CNS: 0205519 ("Addressing Fundamental Issues for Robust Internet Performance"); and CNS: 0225660 ("Robust Large-Scale Distributed Systems"). Additional funding was provided through National Science Foundation grant ANI: 0207399. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors or originators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Bibliographic Notes

IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 14, Issue 4, pp. 725-738

Abbreviated Authors

L. Qiu, Y.R. Yang, Yin Zhang, and S. Shenker

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security

ICSI Publication Type

Article in journal or magazine