As wireless networks witness widespread deployment worldwide, the collective energy consumption of these devices is on target to skyrocket. Greenscale researchers work to curb this energy consumption through access point scheduling (Almeroth, Belding), energy-efficient protocols (Almeroth, Belding, Rodoplu), and spectrum scavenging (Zheng).
Although networks with a high-density of wireless access points provide users with capacity, flexibility, fault-tolerance, and mobility, one recent study has shown that many such WLANs are rarely utilized at their peak capacity. Our preliminary work has demonstrated that we can cluster APs based on coverage area, and power down large percentages of APs when the network is not heavily utilized. We seek to continue this work, to investigate new, more flexible means of energy savings when networks are under-utilized.
In parallel with this work is our collaboration with the Meraka Institute in South Africa. In this partnership, we seek to develop mesh networking solutions suitable for the constraints of rural, under-developed regions of Africa. A first-class requirement of these solutions must be that our solutions are power efficient, and are resilient to power outages. Our work will seek to develop protocols and higher layer solutions that are energy efficient, while still providing basic connectivity to the citizens within these regions.