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How much power do typical laptop Wi-Fi adapters use nowadays?

post #1 of 7
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Many years ago, Wi-Fi was notorious for draining laptop batteries - you'd lose an hour of battery life simply by having the Wi-Fi adapter turned on, even if everything you were doing was completely offline.

IIRC, the issue even affected early iPhones (though not to quite the same extent as laptops), but the problem was largely solved on the smartphone side around the time Android first came out and nowadays turning off Wi-Fi on a smartphone has no significant impact on battery life.

Has the issue ever been solved on the laptop side?
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The Ancient
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post #2 of 7
You don't really hear about it that often anymore. I know on MY Galaxy S2 it saves an hour if off. But on laptops the CPU's and GPU's are using less and less power that things like WiFi have no effect entirely on power.
post #3 of 7
I've measured the power consumption difference with and without a mini pcie wireless adapter using a kill-a-watt. They typically use about 2 watts of electricity even when sending and receiving data. That's not a huge amount of electricty, I think people notice dramatic drops in battery when web browsing more because of things like flash.
post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by particleman View Post

I've measured the power consumption difference with and without a mini pcie wireless adapter using a kill-a-watt. They typically use about 2 watts of electricity even when sending and receiving data. That's not a huge amount of electricty, I think people notice dramatic drops in battery when web browsing more because of things like flash.

+1. It's no longer the device, but the resources the device accesses to load and play flash and videos.

Sent from my SPH-D710 using Tapatalk 2
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post #5 of 7
This will probably answer your question the best:

http://compnetworking.about.com/od/wirelessfaqs/f/wifi-power.htm
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post #6 of 7
Actually wireless does still chomp battery life. I know this is still true with laptops and scanners, but I have not tested any phones are tables. I also know companies like Motorola are implementing battery saving procedures to help out with this. For example they are putting the NIC to sleep for a couple milliseconds, back on to check for packets, back off for a few milliseconds, etc, etc... For the average user, this is not a problem, but in a production Cisco environment it can become a problem. Motorola will want you to turn on or off a bunch of options on the enterprise access points to make their scanner work properly. The problem with this is it will break other devices.

We force our production associates to run the scanners in CAM mode. They are not allowed to go to sleep at all while they are being used. This does require them to purchase an extra batter per scanner. They will usually have to swap the batter out once per shift due to the CAM mode.

My job requires me to design and trouble shoot wireless networks. I use up to three wireless NICs in my laptop depending on what I am doing. Due to the extra NICs, I have to have an extra battery with me on large jobs.

So if the wireless NIC is in use, it will eat up the battery faster than if it were turned off.
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post #7 of 7
I don't know about computers, but on my iPod Touch, I will lose about 30-40% of my battery life after about 17 hours if I don't really use it.

Once I was away and had the Wi-Fi turned off because I had no access. In 4 days, I lost about 3% of my battery life while not using it at all, almost.

That's been my experience with battery life and Wi-Fi.
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