Old Dominion University researchers have developed a system that uses an audio signal to reduce the power consumption of Wi-Fi components.
Continuous Wi-Fi use is a main culprit in draining a smart device's power, notes Old Dominion computer scientist Mostafa Uddin. Most smartphones and tablets use a power-saving scheme that wakes the Wi-Fi interface intermittently to check whether it can communicate with a Wi-Fi access point, but even this reduced state significantly drains battery power.
To create a lower-energy alternative, the researchers developed an audio signal, called A2PSM, which can determine whether any data should be downloaded from an access point. Although people cannot hear the A2PSM signal, a smartphone's microphone picks it up. The signal can be detected despite background noise, and transmitted and received at a distance of three meters.
Uddin says if the acoustic signal is sent with sufficient power, the A2PSM scheme should be able to support a distance up to 30 meters. The audio signal reduces power consumption by 25 percent, compared to a standard Wi-Fi wake-up mechanism.
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