The Effect of the 802.11 Power Save Mechanism (PSM) on Energy Efficiency and Performance During System Activity
802.11 WLAN is a popular choice for wireless access on a range of ICT devices. A growing concern is the increased energy usage of ICT, for reasons of cost and environmental protection. The Power Save Mode (PSM) in 802.11 deactivates the wireless network interface during periods of inactivity. However, applications increasingly use push models, and so devices may be active much of the time. We have investigated the effectiveness of PSM, and considered its impact on performance when a device is active. Rather than concentrate on the NIC, we have taken a system-wide approach, to gauge the impact of the PSM from an application perspective. We experimentally evaluated performance at the packet level and system-wide power usage under various offered loads, controlled by packet size and data rate, on our 802.11n test bed. We have measured the system-wide power consumption corresponding to the individual traffic profiles and have derived application-specific effective energy-usage. We have found that in our scenarios, no significant benefit can be gained from using PSM.