Workshop on Tracking Quality of Experience in the Internet: Summary and Outcomes

Fabián E. Bustamante*, David Clark†, David Clark‡.
In SIGCOMM CCR Vol 47 Issue 1, January 2017.
(*) Northwestern University (†) MIT (‡) Princeton University


This is a report on the Workshop on Tracking Quality of Experience in the Internet, held at Princeton, October 21– 22, 2015, jointly sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Federal Communication Commission. The term Quality of Experience (QoE) describes a user’s subjective assessment of their experience when using a particular application. In the past, network engineers have typically focused on Quality of Service (QoS): performance metrics such as throughput, delay and jitter, packet loss, and the like. Yet, performance as measured by QoS parameters only matters if it affects the experience of users, as they attempt to use a particular application. Ultimately, the user’s experience is determined by QoE impairments (e.g., rebuffering). Although QoE and QoS are related—for example, a video rebuffering event may be caused by high packet-loss rate— QoE metrics ultimately affect a user’s experience.

Identifying the causes of QoE impairments is complex, since the impairments may arise in one or another region of the network, in the home network, on the user’s device, in servers that are part of the application, or in supporting services such as the DNS. Additionally, metrics for QoE continue to evolve, as do the methods for relating QoE impairments to underlying causes that could be measurable using standard network measurement techniques. Finally, as the capabilities of the underlying network infrastructure continues to evolve, researchers should also consider how to design infrastructure and tools can best support measurements that can better identify the locations and causes of QoE impairments.

The workshop's aim was to understand the current state of QoE research and to contemplate a community agenda to integrate ongoing threads of QoE research into a collaboration. This summary report describes the topics discussed and summarize the key points of the discussion. Materials related to the workshop are available at http://aqualab.cs.