Avoiding the rush hours: WiFi energy management via traffic isolation

Justin Manweiler, Romit Roy Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


WiFi continues to be a prime source of energy consumption in mobile devices. This paper observes that, despite a rich body of research in WiFi energy management, there is room for improvement. Our key finding is that WiFi energy optimizations have conventionally been designed with a single AP in mind. However, network contention among different APs can dramatically increase a client's energy consumption. Each client may have to keep awake for long durations before its own AP gets a chance to send it packets to it. As AP density increases, the waiting time inflates, resulting in a proportional decrease in battery life. We design SleepWell, a system that achieves energy efficiency by evading network contention. The APs regulate the sleeping window of their clients in a way that different APs are active/inactive during nonoverlapping time windows. The solution is analogous to the common wisdom of going late to office and coming back late, thereby avoiding the rush hours. We implement SleepWell on a testbed of eight Laptops and nine Android phones, and evaluate it over a wide variety of scenarios and traffic patterns. Results show a median gain of up to 2x when WiFi links are strong; when links are weak and the network density is high, the gains can be even more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6109266
Pages (from-to)739-752
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Mobile communication systems
  • wireless communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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