Reliable P-Hub Location Problems in Telecommunication Networks

By Kim, Hyun; O'Kelly, Morton E. | Geographical Analysis, July 2009 | Go to article overview

Reliable P-Hub Location Problems in Telecommunication Networks


Kim, Hyun, O'Kelly, Morton E., Geographical Analysis


  Hubs are critical elements of telecommunication and transportation
  networks because they play a vital role in mass traffic movement. The
  design of more reliable networks in hub-and-spoke systems is a
  critical issue because current networks, particularly many commercial
  Internet backbones, are quite vulnerable. In hub-and-spoke-type
  topologies, any malfunction at a hub may cause degradation of the
  entire network's ability to transfer flows. This article presents a
  new hub location problem, termed the reliable p-hub location problem,
  which focuses on maximizing network performance in terms of
  reliability by locating hubs for delivering flows among city nodes.
  Two submodels, the p-hub maximum reliability mode! and the p-hub
  mandatory dispersion model, are formulated. Based on hypothetical and
  empirical analyses using telecommunication networks in the United
  States, the relationship between network performance and hub facility
  locations is explored. The results from these models could give
  useful insights into telecommunication network design.

Introduction

The placement of hubs in telecommunications has been identified as an important operational and defense strategy because the performance of current networks is highly reliant on hub locations (Grubesic, O'Kelly, and Murray 2003; NSTAC 2003). Considering the increasing vulnerability of hub facilities to disruption, designing a reliable hub network is a significant issue in current telecommunication systems (Klincewicz 2006; Skorin-Kapov, Skorin-Kapov, and Boljuncic 2006). Early telecommunication networks were as decentralized as possible to achieve a defensible outcome. For example, a defensive locational philosophy underpinned the earliest designs for ARPANet, where important hubs were strategically dispersed to protect against probable attacks or failures (Boehm and Baran 1964). With increasing commercialization, however, networks have evolved into more centralized systems, and there is an intense concentration of key functions at select hubs. Moreover, Internet hubs often are located close to each other for reasons of efficiency (Pastor-Satorras and Vespignani 2004).

As discussed extensively in Murray and Grubesic (2007), this functional and geographical centralization of hubs comes at a time when the need to protect highspeed and broadband technologies and their networks is critical. Even though geographical proximity among hubs reduces the possibility of traffic loss in transmitting aggregated flows, this benefit could in fact be compromised by the increased concentration of hub activities, which could potentially degrade network performance in the face of disruptions (BBC News 2002a, b; Wagner 2002; NCA 2004).

The potential advantage of geographical dispersion of hubs is stressed by O'Kelly and Kim (2007), who analyze the recent cascading failure of Internet services in Korea in terms of network reliability. They demonstrate that the damage to just a single hub can have extensive impacts on an entire network when hub facilities are highly clustered geographically (see also O'Kelly, Kim, and Kim 2006). Another practical example is provided by the recent disruption of Internet service due to the 2006 earthquake in Taiwan, which occurred in an area where undersea cables are highly concentrated, subsequently causing severe telecommunications problems among continents. This latter example highlights the importance of dispersing components to maintain the reliability of telecommunication systems (Heiskanen 2006).

Within this context, we address a variety of new hub location problems, namely the reliable p-hub location problem (RPHLP). Specifically, the RPHLP focuses on locating p-hubs on a network to improve network reliability to deliver interacting flows among its set of origin-destination (OD) nodes. The RPHLP consists of two submodels based on consideration of the rationale of dispersed facility location. …

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