Back-Office Web Traffic on The Internet

ACM Internet Measurement Conference
Vancouver, Canada


Although traffic between Web servers and Web browsers is readily apparent to many knowledgeable end users, fewer are aware of the extent of server-to-server Web traffic carried over the public Internet. We refer to the former class of traffic as front-office Internet Web traffic and the latter as back-office Internet Web traffic (or just front-office and back-office traffic, for short). Back-office traffic, which may or may not be triggered by end-user activity, is essential for today’s Web as it supports a number of popular but complex Web services including large-scale content delivery, social networking, indexing, searching, advertising, and proxy services. This paper takes a first look at back-office traffic, measuring it from various vantage points, including from within ISPs, IXPs, and CDNs. We describe techniques for identifying back-office traffic based on the roles that this traffic plays in the Web ecosystem. Our measurements show that back-office traffic accounts for a significant fraction not only of core Internet traffic, but also of Web transactions in the terms of requests and responses. Finally, we discuss the implications and opportunities that the presence of backoffice traffic presents for the evolution of the Internet ecosystem.