Towards eco-friendly home networking

Mathias Gibbens, Chris Gniady, Beichuan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Home networking is becoming increasingly sophisticated as users connect ever more networked devices. In the past, home networks typically consisted of a simple router and maybe a few computers. Now, high speed wireless networks are commonplace in homes with a large number of devices: TVs, game consoles, home theater systems, and even home automation systems. This is in addition to standard computing devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones and network-attached storage. Smart homes with many wireless sensors to improve quality of life are also emerging. However, home network devices such as routers and broadband modems have been designed for maximum performance with limited consideration of energy optimization when the devices are idle or serving low bandwidth traffic. The goal of this paper is to analyze network activity of wireless home routers, investigate opportunities for energy saving, and present mechanisms for improving the energy efficiency of wireless home routers. We analyzed five week-long traces of home network traffic and identified a number of energy saving opportunities. Through detailed trace-based simulation and implementation measurements we are able to reduce the wireless energy consumption of the home router by 12–59% while incurring only minor delay of the initial packet delivery after leaving the low energy state. Modification of an actual router's behavior shows that the proposed energy optimizations are feasible with existing clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalSustainable Computing: Informatics and Systems
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Energy efficiency
  • Home networks
  • Trace analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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