Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

Summary: A researcher from Duke University may have figured out a way to increase battery life in Wi-Fi enabled devices.

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As anyone who has ever used a smartphone knows, battery life is a constant issue. But Duke University researcher Justin Manweiler may have figured out one way to alleviate the problem: By changing how devices use Wi-Fi signals.

Dubbed "SleepWell", the system alters the behavior of a Wi-Fi device while neighboring devices are downloading information via a Wi-Fi signal. If one device is using the signal, adjacent dormant devices will detect it and cut off their own Wi-Fi access. This practice, Manweiler says, cuts energy usage on both dormant and active devices.

The idea is certainly a promising one, especially as the number of Wi-Fi-enabled devices continues to increase. There is no indication on whether the technology will ever make it into actual devices, but if its as good as Manweiler says it is, it won't be long before we hear more from the project.

[PhysOrg]

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Networking, Wi-Fi

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6 comments
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  • RE: Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

    well that is sort of like not listening to the extension phone when you pick up the phone and hear that its in use. You don't lose any capability, you just hang up and try a bit later, wait your turn. seems like a good idea but some field tests would halp. Maybe a good place would be a large college cafeteria if you could get enough to sign on for a study.. I can only imagine the RF bedlam in there.
    opcom
  • RE: Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

    Sounds like "son of token ring" comes to a radio near you...
    steven.spicer@...
  • Re. WiFi and battery life

    There is already a low-power mode in 802.11, using a microtimer to sleep the chip until the next data frame, which is not implemented in all devices. That makes quite a difference in connected-but-idle devices (I know because my tablet doesn't do it when presented with multiple SSIDs from certain APs).
    adaviel
  • Confused...

    Wifi only reaches 300 feet on a good day, while 3G and phone calls reach up to two miles. How can the wattage used for wifi be worse than 3G? Isn't the problem with smartphones the fact that they are smartphones, and always doing something, always synching calendars or facebooks or email or updates or ads etc. etc. always churning the cpu?<br><br>I get double the battery life when I go on airplane mode, then turn on wifi and call over NETTalk's free phone app using only wifi.<br><br>But again, isn't the wattage for wifi somewhere around a fifth of 3G and phone calls? (I know phones vary power with distance to tower, but they're always more than 300 feet away)
    doctordawg
    • RE: Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

      @doctordawg SPAM? Wtf?
      doctordawg
  • RE: Could the secret to increasing battery life lie in changing the way devices use Wi-Fi?

    I'll try again. Wifi only reaches 300 feet on a good day, while 3G and phone calls reach up to two miles. How can the wattage used for wifi be worse than 3G? Isn't the problem with smartphones the fact that they are smartphones, and always doing something, always synching calendars or facebooks or email or updates or ads etc. etc. always churning the cpu?<br><br>I get double the battery life when I go on airplane mode, then turn on wifi and call over a free wifi phone app using only wifi at home.<br><br>But again, isn't the wattage for wifi somewhere around a fifth of 3G and phone calls? (I know phones vary power with distance to tower, but they're always more than 300 feet away)
    doctordawg