Measuring Roaming in Europe: Infrastructure and Implications on Users' QoE

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"Roam like Home" is the initiative of the European Commission (EC) to end the levy of extra charges when roaming within the European region. As a result, people can use data services more freely across Europe. However, the implications of roaming solutions on network performance have not been carefully examined yet. This paper provides an in-depth characterization of the implications of international data roaming within Europe. We build a unique roaming measurement platform using 16 different mobile networks deployed in six countries across Europe. Using this platform, we measure different aspects of international roaming in 4G networks in Europe, including mobile network configuration, performance characteristics, and quality of experience. We find that operators adopt a common approach to implement roaming called Home-routed roaming (HR). This results in additional latency penalties of 60 ms or more, depending on geographical distance. This leads to worse browsing performance, with an increase in the metrics related to Quality of Experience (QoE) of users (Page Load time and Speed Index) in the order of 15-20 percent. We further analyze in isolation the impact of latency on QoE metrics and find that the penalty imposed by HR leads to a degradation on QoE metrics up to 150 percent in case of intercontinental roaming.
Roaming, Mobile Networks, Measurements, Home Automation, Europe, Quality Of Experience, Servers, Ip Networks, Mobile Nodes, Mobile Computing
Bibliographic citation
Mandalari, A. M., Lutu, A., Custura, A., Khatouni, A. S., Alay, O., Bagnulo, M., Bajpai, V., Brunstrom, A., Ott, J., Trevisan, M., Mellia, M., & Fairhurst, G. (2022). Measuring roaming in Europe: Infrastructure and implications on users’ QoE. IEEE transactions on mobile computing, 21(10), 3687–3699.