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Mobile Information Systems
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6520631, 15 pages
Research Article

Improving Energy Efficiency in Idle Listening of IEEE 802.11 WLANs

Department of Information and Communication Engineering, Dongguk University, Seoul 100-715, Republic of Korea

Received 21 December 2015; Revised 3 May 2016; Accepted 15 May 2016

Academic Editor: Yuh-Shyan Chen

Copyright © 2016 Muhammad Adnan and Eun-Chan Park. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper aims to improve energy efficiency of IEEE 802.11 wireless local area networks (WLANs) by effectively dealing with idle listening (IL), which is required for channel sensing and is unavoidable in a contention-based channel access mechanism. Firstly, we show that IL is a dominant source of energy drain in WLANs and it cannot be effectively alleviated by the power saving mechanism proposed in the IEEE 802.11 standard. To solve this problem, we propose an energy-efficient mechanism that combines three schemes in a systematic way: downclocking, frame aggregation, and contention window adjustment. The downclocking scheme lets a station remain in a semisleep state when overhearing frames destined to neighbor stations, whereby the station consumes the minimal energy without impairing channel access capability. As well as decreasing the channel access overhead, the frame aggregation scheme prolongs the period of semisleep time. Moreover, by controlling the size of contention window based on the number of stations, the proposed mechanism decreases unnecessary IL time due to collision and retransmission. By deriving an analysis model and performing extensive simulations, we confirm that the proposed mechanism significantly improves the energy efficiency and throughput, by up to 2.8 and 1.8 times, respectively, compared to the conventional power saving mechanisms.