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Proceedings Paper

Network planning under uncertainties
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Paper Abstract

One of the main focuses for network planning is on the optimization of network resources required to build a network under certain traffic demand projection. Traditionally, the inputs to this type of network planning problems are treated as deterministic. In reality, the varying traffic requirements and fluctuations in network resources can cause uncertainties in the decision models. The failure to include the uncertainties in the network design process can severely affect the feasibility and economics of the network. Therefore, it is essential to find a solution that can be insensitive to the uncertain conditions during the network planning process. As early as in the 1960's, a network planning problem with varying traffic requirements over time had been studied. Up to now, this kind of network planning problems is still being active researched, especially for the VPN network design. Another kind of network planning problems under uncertainties that has been studied actively in the past decade addresses the fluctuations in network resources. One such hotly pursued research topic is survivable network planning. It considers the design of a network under uncertainties brought by the fluctuations in topology to meet the requirement that the network remains intact up to a certain number of faults occurring anywhere in the network. Recently, the authors proposed a new planning methodology called Generalized Survivable Network that tackles the network design problem under both varying traffic requirements and fluctuations of topology. Although all the above network planning problems handle various kinds of uncertainties, it is hard to find a generic framework under more general uncertainty conditions that allows a more systematic way to solve the problems. With a unified framework, the seemingly diverse models and algorithms can be intimately related and possibly more insights and improvements can be brought out for solving the problem. This motivates us to seek a generic framework for solving the network planning problem under uncertainties. In addition to reviewing the various network planning problems involving uncertainties, we also propose that a unified framework based on robust optimization can be used to solve a rather large segment of network planning problem under uncertainties. Robust optimization is first introduced in the operations research literature and is a framework that incorporates information about the uncertainty sets for the parameters in the optimization model. Even though robust optimization is originated from tackling the uncertainty in the optimization process, it can serve as a comprehensive and suitable framework for tackling generic network planning problems under uncertainties. In this paper, we begin by explaining the main ideas behind the robust optimization approach. Then we demonstrate the capabilities of the proposed framework by giving out some examples of how the robust optimization framework can be applied to the current common network planning problems under uncertain environments. Next, we list some practical considerations for solving the network planning problem under uncertainties with the proposed framework. Finally, we conclude this article with some thoughts on the future directions for applying this framework to solve other network planning problems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 November 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7137, Network Architectures, Management, and Applications VI, 713722 (19 November 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.804126
Show Author Affiliations
Kwok Shing Ho, The Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (Hong Kong China)
Kwok Wai Cheung, The Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (Hong Kong China)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7137:
Network Architectures, Management, and Applications VI
Weisheng Hu; Shoa-Kai Liu; Ken-ichi Sato; Lena Wosinska, Editor(s)

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