Who is the King of the Hill? Traffic Analysis over a 4G Network

Who is the King of the Hill? Traffic Analysis over a 4G Network

Feng Li, Xiaoxiao Jiang, Jae Won Chung, and Mark Claypool

In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC),
Kansas City, MO, USA
May 20-24, 2018

The increase in radio link capacities has brought significant growth in number and variety of mobile applications. To support these applications, network providers and researchers need a current and thorough understanding of the composition of 4G LTE traffic. In this paper, we conduct a deep study over a tier-1 U.S. wireless carrier to measure and analyze 4G LTE traffic. We collect data on 2.5+ million flows from 5000+ user devices, analyzing cross-layer characteristics for IPv4/6, HTTP/S and newly emerging QUIC traffic, with analysis extracted for the most prolific domains. To the best of our knowledge, our QUIC traffic analysis is the first published from a carrier's perspective. Results show data from multimedia sources (audio, video and images) dominate link capacities, with video, in particular, being the "king of the hill". Detailed analysis suggests methods for identifying encrypted video traffic, potentially leading to improved network services.