Characterizing the behavior of handheld devices and its implications

Xuetao Wei, Nicholas C. Valler, Harsha V. Madhyastha, Iulian Neamtiu, Michalis Faloutsos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The Bring-Your-Own-Handheld-device (BYOH) phenomenon continues to make inroads as more people bring their own handheld devices to work or school. While convenient to device owners, this trend presents novel management challenges to network administrators as they have no control over these devices and no solid understanding of the behavior of these emerging devices. In order to cope with the impact of these BYOHs on current existing network management infrastructures, we identify two tightly-coupled questions that network administrators need to answer: (a) how do these BYOHs behave? and (b) how can we manage them more effectively based on the understanding of their behaviors? In response, we design and deploy Brofiler, a framework that could enable network administrators to effectively manage BYOHs via behavior-aware profiling. Our behavior-aware profiling captures the behaviors of each individual BYOH and improves the visibility on managing these BYOHs. In detail, the contributions of our work are three-fold. First, we present Brofiler, a time-aware device-centric approach for grouping devices into intuitive behavioral groups from multiple perspectives, including data plane, temporal behavior, and the protocol and control plane. Second, we conduct an extensive study of BYOHs using our approach with real data collected over a year, and highlight several novel insights on the behavior of BYOHs. For example, we find that 70% of the BYOHs generate 50% of their monthly data traffic in one day, while remaining mostly idle the rest of the month. In addition, 68% of BYOHs do not conform to DHCP protocol specifications. Third, we present the implications of our study based on the framework in DHCP management, bandwidth management and access control. Overall, our approach could enable network administrators better understand and manage these new emerging devices for their networks in the post-PC era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Networks
StatePublished - Feb 26 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Behavior
  • Handheld devices
  • Management
  • Measurement


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