Charging From Sampled Network Usage

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Executive Summary

IP flows have heavy-tailed packet and byte size distributions. This make them poor candidates for uniform sampling-i.e. selecting 1 in N Flows-since omission or inclusion of a large flow can have a large effect on estimated total traffic. Flows selected in this manner are thus unsuitable for use in usage sensitive billing. This paper proposes instead using a size-dependent sampling scheme which gives priority to the larger contributions to customer usage. This turns the heavy tails to their advantage; they can obtain accurate estimates of customer usage from a relatively small number of important samples. The sampling scheme allows them to control error when charging is sensitive to estimated usage only above a given base level.

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