Since its appearance on mobile devices, the Wi-Fi technology has been draining the battery of Windows Mobile, iOS and Android phones continuously. The drain is due to the fact that the more wireless devices are within an area, the more they need to be awake to make data transfers, since so-called “collisions” between them appear all the time.
Justin Manweiler, a graduate student in computer science, has thought of a scheme to make wireless-enabled devices eat less power by putting them to sleep mode while a neighboring device downloads information. This is beneficial for both the device’s battery and also for the other devices competing for bandwidth.
Manweiler described the system by analogy: “Big cities face heavy rush hours as workers come and leave their jobs at similar times. If work schedules were more flexible, different companies could stagger their office hours to reduce the rush. With less of a rush, there would be more free time for all, and yet, the total number of working hours would remain the same.”
“The same is true of mobile devices trying to access the Internet at the same time,” Manweiler said. “The SleepWell-enabled WiFi access points can stagger their activity cycles to minimally overlap with others, ultimately resulting in promising energy gains with negligible loss of performance.”
Microsoft Research, Nokia, Cisco and Verizon are already supporting Manweiler’s work, since they’re directly interested in the gains it could provide for their gadgets. The National Science Foundation has also contributed.