Better wi-fi management can double battery life

A Duke University researcher has worked out how to double battery life on mobile gadgets by tinkering with wi-fi software and making sure it gets a better night’s kip.

According to a paper he published here with the catchy title Avoiding the Rush Hours: WiFi Energy Management via Traffic Isolation, a Duke University researcher named Justin Manweiler changed the way that Wi-Fi signal searches are carried out.

At the moment a gizmo churns up loads of battery looking for Wi-Fi and 3G signals. Sometimes they have to wake from battery saving snoozes to check in with their Wi-Fi access point, and see if there’s any new data to download.

Things get worse if there are multiple Wi-Fi access points in range of your phone or device, as the gizmo tries to chat to them all.

However Manweiler has come up with something he calls SleepWell. It works by dynamically rescheduling traffic and coordinating data between access points.

It tinkers with the timestamps, which are part of the Wi-Fi clock synchronisation process, SleepWell AP regulates the client’s sleep and wake-up schedules.

He said that results show a median gain of up to 2x when Wi-Fi links are strong. When links are weak and the network density is high, the gains can be even more.”

The software just needs to be rolled out to the access points so it does not require users to do anything.