Managing quality of experience (QoE) is now widely accepted as a critical objective for multimedia applications and the supporting communication systems. In general, QoE management encompasses: (i) monitoring of the key influence factors and QoE indicators, and (ii) deciding on the appropriate control actions as specified by the management goal. Many multimedia applications, e.g. video streaming and audio conferencing, are able to adjust their operational parameters so as to react to variations in the network performance. However, such an adaptation feature is mostly based on a local client view of the network conditions, which may lead to an unfair allocation of network resources among heterogeneous clients and, thus, an unfair QoE distribution. In order to tackle this issue, there is the call for a cooperation between the applications and the underlying network, which includes application-network interaction (App-Net) in terms of: (1) exchanging information on the monitored QoE indicators, and (2) coordinating the QoE control actions.
Various App-Net mechanisms focusing on specific use cases and applications have been proposed to date. This paper gives an overview of App-Net mechanisms and proposes a generic App-Net model that provides the means to realize a coordinated QoE-centric management. Based on the App-Net model, we develop an evaluation methodology to compare three App-Net mechanisms for managing QoE of HTTP adaptive streaming (HAS) against a baseline HAS service. The aim of this quantitative comparison is to explore the trade-offs between QoE gains and the complexity of App-Net implementation, with respect to the number of monitoring and control messages, achieved video quality, and QoE fairness among heterogeneous clients. Our ultimate goal is to set up reproducible experiments that facilitate a holistic evaluation of different App-Net mechanisms.