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The Web, the Users, and the MOS: Influence of HTTP/2 on User Experience

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Passive and Active Measurement (PAM 2017)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNCCN,volume 10176))

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This work focuses on the evaluation of Web quality of experience as perceived by actual users and in particular on the impact of HTTP/1 vs HTTP/2. We adopt an experimental methodology that uses real web pages served through a realistic testbed where we control network, protocol, and application configuration. Users are asked to browse such pages and provide their subjective feedback, which we leverage to obtain the Mean Opinion Score (MOS), while the testbed records objective metrics.

The collected dataset comprises over 4,000 grades that we explore to tackle the question whether HTTP/2 improves users experience, to what extent, and in which conditions. Findings show that users report marginal differences, with 22%, 52%, 26% of HTTP/2 MOS being better, identical, or worse than HTTP/1, respectively. Even in scenarios that favor HTTP/2, results are not as sharp as expected. This is in contrast with objective metrics, which instead record a positive impact with HTTP/2 usage. This shows the complexity of understanding the web experience and the need to involve actual users in the quality assessment process.

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    Due to the explicit binding between host names and IP addresses in hosts file, no DNS resolution takes place. This avoids potential bias due to resolution delay and DNS caching, enabling a fair comparison between H1 and H2 performance.


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This work has been carried out at LINCS ( and benefited from support of NewNet@Paris, Cisco’s Chair “Networks for the Future” at Telecom ParisTech (

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Correspondence to Enrico Bocchi .

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Bocchi, E., De Cicco, L., Mellia, M., Rossi, D. (2017). The Web, the Users, and the MOS: Influence of HTTP/2 on User Experience. In: Kaafar, M., Uhlig, S., Amann, J. (eds) Passive and Active Measurement. PAM 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10176. Springer, Cham.

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