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End user quality perception in the context of Internet applications is often characterized by waiting times before service consumption as well as interruptions during service consumption. In particular in case of bad network conditions, network and service providers have to trade off between these two impairment types, i.e. between the devil and the deep blue sea. In this paper we investigate this tradeoff in order to guide the design and development of Internet applications and network management approaches. The contribution of this paper is twofold. Firstly, we quantify the impact of initial delays on the user perceived Quality of Experience (QoE) for different application scenarios by means of subjective laboratory and crowdsourcing studies. We show that QoE for a given waiting time strongly depends on the concrete application at hand but that rating diversity remains fairly application-invariant. Secondly, using the example of YouTube video streaming we compare the influence of initial delays and interruptions (stallings) during watching. Our results demonstrate that users are extremely sensitive to interruptions and that services should be designed accordingly e.g. by increasing initial delay for prebuffering to overcome lack of resources.
Date of Conference: 5-7 July 2012