On the accuracy of smartphone-based mobile network measurement

Weichao Li, Ricky K.P. Mok, Daoyuan Wu, Kow Chuen Chang

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

23 Citations (Scopus)


As most of mobile apps rely on network connections for their operations, measuring and understanding the performance of mobile networks is becoming very important for end users and operators. Despite the availability of many measurement apps, their measurement accuracy has not received sufficient scrutiny. In this paper, we appraise the accuracy of smartphone-based network performance measurement using the Android platform and the network round-trip time as the metric. We use a multiple-sniffer testbed to overcome the challenge of obtaining a complete trace for acquiring the required timestamps. Our experiment results show that the RTTs measured by the apps are all inflated, ranging from a few milliseconds (ms) to tens of milliseconds. Moreover, the 95% confidence interval can be as high as 2.4ms. A finer-grained analysis reveals that the delay inflation can be introduced both in the Dalvik VM (DVM) and below the Linux kernel. The in-DVM overhead can be mitigated but the other cannot be. Finally, we propose and implement a native app which uses HTTP messages for network measurement, and the delay inflation can be kept under 5ms for almost all cases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2015
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781479983810
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2015
Event34th IEEE Annual Conference on Computer Communications and Networks, IEEE INFOCOM 2015 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 26 Apr 20151 May 2015


Conference34th IEEE Annual Conference on Computer Communications and Networks, IEEE INFOCOM 2015
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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