Verification of a quantum advantage in the presence of noise is a key open problem in the study of near-term quantum devices. In this work, we show how to assess the quality of photonic interference in a linear optical quantum device (boson sampler) by using a maximum likelihood method to measure the strength at which various noise sources are present in the experiment. This allows us to use a sparse set of samples to test whether a given boson-sampling experiment meets known upper bounds on the level of noise permissible to demonstrate a quantum advantage. Furthermore, this method allows us to monitor the evolution of noise in real time, creating a valuable diagnostic tool. Finally, we observe that sources of noise in the experiment compound, meaning that the observed value of the mutual photon indistinguishability, which is the main imperfection in our study, is an effective value taking into account all sources of error in the experiment.