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Dissertation Defense

Systems and Methods for Measuring and Improving End-User Application Performance on Mobile Devices

Ashkan Nikravesh

In today's rapidly growing smartphone society, the time users are spending on their smartphones is continuing to grow and mobile applications are becoming the primary medium for providing services and content to users. With such fast paced growth in smartphone usage, cellular carriers and internet service providers continuously upgrade their infrastructure to the latest technologies and expand their capacities to improve the performance and reliability of their network and to satisfy exploding user demand for mobile data. On the other side of the spectrum, content providers and e-commerce companies adopt the latest protocols and techniques to provide smooth and feature-rich user experiences on their applications.

To ensure a good quality of experience, monitoring how applications perform on users' devices is necessary. Often, network and content providers lack such visibility into the end-user application performance. In this dissertation, we demonstrate that having visibility into the end-user application performance is crucial for detecting, diagnosing, and addressing performance problems on mobile devices. My dissertation consists of three projects to support this statement. First, to provide such continuous monitoring on smartphones with constrained resources that operate in such a highly dynamic mobile environment, we devise efficient, adaptive, and coordinated systems, as a platform, for active and passive measurements of end-user performance. Second, using this platform and other passive data collection techniques, we conduct an in-depth user trial of mobile multipath to understand how Multipath TCP (MPTCP) performs in practice. Our measurement study reveals several limitations of MPTCP. Based on the insights gained from our measurement study, we propose two different schemes to address the identified limitations of MPTCP. Last, we show how to provide visibility into the end-user application performance for internet providers and in particular home WiFi routers by passively monitoring users' traffic and utilizing per-app models mapping various network quality of service (QoS) metrics to the application performance.

Sponsored by

Z. Morley Mao