Is what you measure what you expect? Factors affecting smartphone-based mobile network measurement

Lei Xue, Xiaobo Ma, Xiapu Luo, Le Yu, Shuai Wang, Ting Chen

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many apps have been developed to measure the performance of mobile networks. Unfortunately, their measurement results may not be what users expect, because the results could be biased by various factors and the apps' descriptions may confuse users. Although a few recent studies pointed out several factors, they missed other important factors and lacked of finegrained analysis on the factors and measurement apps. Moreover, none has studied whether or not the descriptions of such apps will mislead users. In this paper, we conduct the first systematic study of the factors that could bias the result from measurement apps and their descriptions. We identify new factors, revisit known factors, and propose a novel approach with new tools to discover these factors in proprietary apps. We also develop a new measurement app named MobiScope for demonstrating how to mitigate the negative effects of these factors. Furthermore, we construct enhanced descriptions for measurement apps to provide users more information about what is measured. The extensive experimental results illustrate the negative effects of various factors, the improvement in performance measurement brought by MobiScope, and the clarity of the enhanced descriptions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2017 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509053360
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017
Event2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 1 May 20174 May 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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