How Healthy are Today’s Enterprise Networks?

  • Jaideep Chandrasekhar
  • Nina Taft
  • Dina Papagiannaki

Proceedings of Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) |

In this paper we take a look at the health of a typical enterprise network via a new metric based on the fraction of useful flows generated by endhosts. Flows considered non-useful are those that explicitly fail or else do not elicit a response from the intended destination. Examining traces collected from a large number of mobile hosts in an enterprise network, we find that about 34% of the flows are not useful. Through our study that combines data analysis and ongoing interactions with our IT department, we learn that these non-useful flows arise from several causes. Our mobile hosts frequently change environments, by either moving in and out of the corporate environment, or by switching the point and means of attachment to the corporate network. We find that many of the failures occur due to the hosts’ lack of environment awareness, which results in attempts to discover services that are not present in all environments. Other causes include misconfiguration, unnecessary broadcast traffic, and excessive connection retries. Understanding this ever present noise in endhost communication is important for a variety of reasons including the fact that it complicates anomaly detection design and wastes resources, the latter of which is particularly crucial for wireless and mobile environments. Finally, we discuss possible means to design applications and services that can significantly improve the health of the network.