Proposed new WiFi tech could double battery life in phones

We all know that using your WiFi features on your smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs can sap the battery power from those devices much faster than normal. Now a proposed new way of handling WiFi technology has the potential to extend the battery life of those devices, perhaps by twice the current amount. TechCrunch reports that the proposal comes from a computer science graduate student at Duke University.

The student, Justin Manwelier, has called the technology SleepWell and for good reason. A WiFi enabled product usually has to stay on while waiting for its turn to download a file. That means that battery life is adversely affected. Manwelier uses an analogy to describe the current  WiFi process. Currently workers head into and out of big cities during "rush hours" which naturally causes heavier traffic during those time periods. If companies staggered their work hours for their employees there would be less traffic and thus more free time. Manwelier states that his technology works in the same way, saying, "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."

He adds that, " .... the testing we conducted across a number of device types and situations gives us confidence that SleepWell is a viable approach for the near future." While this new technology  certainly sounds promising, there's no word on when or even if the SleepWell technology will be used in future WiFi devices.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft, Google and AOL sued over 3D mapping software

Next Story

T-Mobile UK: free unlimited data; HTC Sensation and Flyer coming soon

11 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I was under the impression 3G is usually a worse drain on battery than Wi-Fi. Either way, improvements to battery life are always welcome.

Sounds like this would only work well for bulk transfers. If you're standing there waiting for a web page to load, nothing's going to be going to sleep here.

I agree. I have fios at home, and if I don't leave home, or leave home but go to a place without wifi, this won't do anything. I'm not exactly short on bandwith here.

I wouldn't say this tech doubles battery life, maybe reduces WiFi battery drain by 50%, but wifi is not the only battery drain you have on a device, therefore it would be highly unlikely to actually double battery life.

VERY valid point, does anyone actually find using Wi-Fi sucks 50% of battery life - I doubt it, therefore this headline is bull, I think it really should mean saves 50% of Wi-Fi Battery usage.

Exosphere said,
VERY valid point, does anyone actually find using Wi-Fi sucks 50% of battery life - I doubt it, therefore this headline is bull, I think it really should mean saves 50% of Wi-Fi Battery usage.

And even then there are still a host of other components that are sucking power which also need addressing. I think the biggest thing not addressed is the role of operating system used and how well it works to minimize waking up the CPU and other components from the lower powered states.

Edited by Mr Nom Nom's, Jul 3 2011, 10:45pm :