Overview#Strategies for Using Power for Communication
Especially when wireless transmission is used, the radio often consumes a big portion of the total energy consumed by the device. Design parameters, such as
- the available spectrum,
- the desired range
- the bitrate aimed for
Different strategies for power usage and network attachment may be used, based on the type of the energy source (e.g., battery or mains-powered) and the frequency with which a device needs to communicate.
The general strategies for power usage can be described as follows:
- Always-on: This strategy is most applicable if there is no reason for extreme measures for power saving. The device can stay on in the usual manner all the time. It may be useful to employ power-friendly hardware or limit the number of wireless transmissions, CPU speeds, and other aspects for general power-saving and cooling needs, but the device can be connected to the network all the time.
- Normally-off: Under this strategy, the device sleeps such long periods at a time that once it wakes up, it makes sense for it to not pretend that it has been connected to the network during
- sleep: the device reattaches to the network as it is woken up. The main optimization goal is to minimize the effort during the reattachment process and any resulting application communications.
If the device sleeps for long periods of time and needs to communicate infrequently, the relative increase in energy expenditure during reattachment may be acceptable.
- Low-power: This strategy is most applicable to devices that need to operate on a very small amount of power but still need to be able to communicate on a relatively frequent basis. This implies that extremely low-power solutions need to be used for the hardware, chosen link Layer mechanisms, and so on. Typically, given the small amount of time between transmissions, despite their sleep state, these devices retain some form of attachment to the network.
Techniques used for minimizing power usage for the network communications include minimizing any work from re-establishing communications after waking up and tuning the frequency of communications (including "duty cycling", where components are switched on and off in a regular cycle) and other parameters appropriately.