A Comparative Study of Machine Learning Models for Multivariate NextG Network Traffic Prediction with SLA-based Loss Function

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Virginia Tech


As Next Generation (NextG) networks become more complex, the need to develop a robust, reliable network traffic prediction framework for intelligent network management increases. This study compares the performance of machine learning models in network traffic prediction using a custom Service-Level Agreement (SLA) - based loss function to ensure SLA violation constraints while minimizing overprovisioning. The proposed SLA-based parametric custom loss functions are used to maintain the SLA violation rate percentages the network operators require. Our approach is multivariate, spatiotemporal, and SLA-driven, incorporating 20 Radio Access Network (RAN) features, custom peak traffic time features, and custom mobility-based clustering to leverage spatiotemporal relationships. In this study, five machine learning models are considered: one recurrent neural network (LSTM) model, two encoder-decoder architectures (Transformer and Autoformer), and two gradient-boosted tree models (XGBoost and LightGBM). The prediction performance of the models is evaluated based on different metrics such as SLA violation rate constraints, overprovisioning, and the custom SLA-based loss function parameter. According to our evaluations, Transformer models with custom peak time features achieve the minimum overprovisioning volume at 3% SLA violation constraint. Gradient-boosted tree models have lower overprovisioning volumes at higher SLA violation rates.



Cellular traffic prediction, 5G and beyond, LSTM, Transformer, Autoformer, XGBoost, LightGBM