Abstract: Real-time communication (RTC) applications such as VoIP, video conferencing, and online gaming are flourishing. To adapt and deliver good performance, these applications require accurate estimations of short-term network performance metrics, e.g., loss rate, one-way delay, and throughput. However, the wide variation in mobile cellular network performance makes running RTC applications on these networks problematic. To address this issue, various performance adaptation techniques have been proposed, but one common problem of such techniques is that they only adjust application behavior reactively after performance degradation is visible. Thus, proactive adaptation based on accurate short-term, fine-grained network performance prediction can be a preferred alternative that benefits RTC applications. In this study, we show that forecasting the short-term performance in cellular networks is possible in part due to the channel estimation scheme on the device and the radio resource scheduling algorithm at the base station. We develop a system interface called PROTEUS, which passively collects current network performance, such as throughput, loss, and one-way delay, and then uses regression trees to forecast future network performance. PROTEUS successfully predicts the occurrence of packet loss within a 0.5s time window for 98% of the time windows and the occurrence of long one-way delay for 97% of the time windows. We also demonstrate how PROTEUS can be integrated with RTC applications to significantly improve the perceptual quality. In particular, we increase the peak signal-to-noise ratio of a video conferencing application by up to 15dB and reduce the perceptual delay in a gaming application by up to 4s.