Skilled in the Art of Being Idle: Reducing Energy Waste in Networked Systems

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Executive Summary

Networked end-systems such as desktops and set-top boxes are often left powered-on, but idle, leading to wasted energy consumption. An alternative would be for these idle systems to enter low-power sleep modes. Unfortunately, today, a sleeping system sees degraded functionality: first, a sleeping device loses its network "Presence" which is problematic to users and applications that expect to maintain access to a remote machine and, second, sleeping can prevent running tasks scheduled during times of low utilization (e.g., network backups). Various solutions to these problems have been proposed over the years including Wake-on-Lan (WoL) mechanisms that wake hosts when specific packets arrive, and the use of a proxy that handles idle-time traffic on behalf of a sleeping host.

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