Section: Research Program

Quality of Service and Quality of Experience

Since it is difficult to develop as many communication solutions as possible applications, the scientific and technological communities aim towards providing general services allowing to give to each application or user a set of properties nowadays called “Quality of Service” (QoS), a terminology lacking a precise definition. This QoS concept takes different forms according to the type of communication service and the aspects which matter for a given application: for performance it comes through specific metrics (delays, jitter, throughput, etc.), for dependability it also comes through appropriate metrics: reliability, availability, or vulnerability, in the case for instance of WAN (Wide Area Network) topologies, etc.

QoS is at the heart of our research activities: We look for methods to obtain specific “levels” of QoS and for techniques to evaluate the associated metrics. Our ultimate goal is to provide tools (mathematical tools and/or algorithms, under appropriate software “containers” or not) allowing users and/or applications to attain specific levels of QoS, or to improve the provided QoS, if we think of a particular system, with an optimal use of the resources available. Obtaining a good QoS level is a very general objective. It leads to many different areas, depending on the systems, applications and specific goals being considered. Our team works on several of these areas. We also investigate the impact of network QoS on multimedia payloads to reduce the impact of congestion.

Some important aspects of the behavior of modern communication systems have subjective components: the quality of a video stream or an audio signal, as perceived by the user, is related to some of the previous mentioned parameters (packet loss, delays, ...) but in an extremely complex way. We are interested in analyzing these types of flows from this user-oriented point of view. We focus on the user perceived quality, in short, PQ, the main component of what is nowadays called Quality of Experience (in short, QoE), to underline the fact that, in this case, we want to center the analysis on the user. In this context, we have a global project called PSQA, which stands for Pseudo-Subjective Quality Assessment, and which refers to a technology we have developed allowing to automatically measure this PQ.

Another special case to which we devote research efforts in the team is the analysis of qualitative properties related to interoperability assessment. This refers to the act of determining if end-to-end functionality between at least two communicating systems is as required by the base standards for those systems. Conformance is the act of determining to what extent a single component conforms to the individual requirements of the standard it is based on. Our purpose is to provide such a formal framework (methods, algorithms and tools) for interoperability assessment, in order to help in obtaining efficient interoperability test suites for new generation networks, mainly around IPv6-related protocols. The interoperability test suites generation is based on specifications (standards and/or RFCs) of network components and protocols to be tested.