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Effective WiFi power management can strongly impact the energy consumption on Smartphones. Through controlled experiments, the authors find that WiFi power management on a wide variety of Smartphones is a largely autonomous process that is processed completely at the driver level. Driver level implementations suffer from the limitation that important power management decisions can be made only by observing packets at the MAC layer. This approach has the unfortunate side effect that each application has equal opportunity to impact WiFi power management to consume more energy, since distinguishing between applications is not feasible at the MAC layer.
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