MASc seminar - Abdurhman Albasir

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:00 am - 11:00 am EST (GMT -05:00)


Abdurhman Albasir


An Evaluation of Smartphone Resources Used by Web Advertisements


Naik, Kshirasagar


With the rapid advancement of mobile devices, people have become more attached to them than ever. This rapid growth combined with millions of applications (apps) make smartphones a favourite means of communication among users. In general, the available contents on smartphones, apps and the web, come into two versions: (i) free contents that are monetized via advertisements (ads), and (ii) paid ones that are monetized by user subscription fees. However, the resources (energy, bandwidth, processing power) on-board are limited, and the existence of ads in either websites or free apps can adversely impact these resources. These issues brought the need for good understanding of the mobile advertising eco-system and how such limited resources can be efficiently used.

This thesis focuses on mobile web browsing. Surfing web-pages on smatphones is one of the most commonly used task among smartphone users. However, web-page complexity is increasing, especially when designed for desktop computers. On one hand, the existence of ads in web-pages is essential for publishers' monetization strategy. On the other hand, their existence in webpages leads to even higher complexity of the webpages. This complexity in the smartphone environment, where the battery and bandwidth resources are limited, is reflected in longer loading time, more energy consumed, and more bytes transferred. With this view, quantifying the energy consumption due to web ads in smartphones is essential for publishers to optimize their webpages, and for system designers to develop an energy-aware applications (browsers) and protocols. Apart from their energy impact, ads consume network bandwidth as well. Therefore, quantifying the bandwidth consumption due to downloading web ads is crucial to creating more energy and bandwidth aware applications. This thesis first classifies web content into: (i) core information, and (ii) forced "unwanted" information, namely ads. Then, describes an approach that enables the separation of web content in a number of a websites. Having done so, the energy cost due to downloading, rendering, and displaying web ads over Wi-Fi and 3G networks is evaluated. That is, how much energy web ads contribute to the total consumed energy when a user accesses the web. Furthermore, the bandwidth consumed by web ads in a number of well-known websites is also evaluated.

Motivated by our findings about ads' impact on the energy and bandwidth, the thesis proposes and implements a novel web-browsing technique that adapts the webpages delivered to smartphones, based on a smartphone's current battery level and the network type. Webpages are adapted by controlling the amount of ads to be displayed. Validation tests confirm that the system, in some cases, can extend smartphone battery life by up to ~ 30% and save wireless bandwidth up to ~ 44%.