Passive Wi-Fi: The latest Way to Green Your Mobile Phone

7  May 2016

 

Passive Wi-Fi: The latest Way to Green Your Mobile Phone

The future is bright when it comes to Wi-Fi. Connecting a device, like your smartphone, tablet or PC, to a Wi-Fi connection takes up a great deal of energy. But thanks to group of scholars at the University of Washington, the drain on your battery when using Wi-Fi may be finally coming to an end.

Take any typical smartphone and the energy it using when connected to a Wi-Fi becomes a huge drain on its resources. True, no Wi-Fi means you cannot connect to the internet (unless you use GPS) but most of us usually switch on the Wi-Fi and device connection and leave it on 24/7.

At present the issue seems to be getting worse. More and more devices are flooding onto the market and we are all using a mobile phone or tablet to connect through to the internet via our Wi-Fi and the energy is being drained exponentially.

However, a new type of hardware – known as “Passive Wi-Fi” consume barely any energy at all. And despite all this, it can still transfer data at speeds of up to an impressive 11 MB every second. This allows for super-fast browsing and downloading images or video at satisfactory speeds. All the while, 1000 times the energy used is saved.

It works just like the router you have at home. Understanding the complexities behind the power used in Wi-Fi is not easy stuff. Wi-Fi consumes hundreds of MW of power but the power used in Passive Wi-Fi uses around 10 microwatts. That is about 8,000 times lower energy used.

The Wi-Fi in your home or in that coffee shop or bistro pub works by using two radios so that the communication is able to run back and forth to your device. The problem comes when many devices are trying to access the Wi-Fi and use the same frequency in the process. Passive Wi-Fi means only one radio frequency is used.

The ultra-low energy Passive Wi-Fi is not actually transmitting anything, it is creating a Wi-Fi packet by reflection, as and when one is demanded (in other words, when you tell your device or mobile phone to search for Wi-Fi hotspots). It can also create several packets on demand too which makes Passive Wi-Fi ground-breaking when used in establishments and outlets like coffee shops, restaurants, gastro pubs, aircraft and fast food outlets.