New Wifi Tech Could Double Your Phone’s Battery Life

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If you ever get the sense that someone on the wifi network you’re using is hogging all the juice, you may be right. Not only does sharing wifi with others downloading large files interfere with your enjoyment of the latest viral video, but it can majorly drain your battery as well.

A new solution from a Duke University computer science graduate student could alleviate your frustrations and potentially double your battery life by allowing your wifi device to “nap” until more bandwidth is available. This means you might have to wait a couple minutes to watch your video, but that could be a productivity boon anyway.

Justin Manwelier‘s SleepWell is a piece of software that helps maximize download efficiency by alerting the wifi device in your phone when a download is finished on a neighboring device. Most wifi devices have to “stay awake” while waiting for their turn to download, draining a good deal of battery in the process.

“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,” Manwelier said in a statement.

The proximity of wireless devices affects their performance as well, with longer download times in more crowded areas, like cities. And, as cloud computing continues to grow, the reasons for connecting to wifi will increase. Putting a wifi-connected device on standby until a download from another device is complete increases both devices’ battery life.

No word yet on when SleepWell will be released, but once it is, we can all look forward to having more time to surf before seeking out an outlet.

Photo by Florian Boyd