Battery use on high traffic public wi-fi network

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by digitalhen, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. digitalhen macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    I have a variety of devices (iPhone 5 and a laptop for example). While I'm on my university campus, using the shared wi-fi, my battery life on all devices is markedly shorter ... or at least appears to be.

    Since there is heavy traffic on each access point I use (fellow classmates transmitting lots of data), I'm wondering about the technical side of wi-fi. If I understand the protocol correctly: every packet is received by every device, processed and then discarded if not intended for that machine. Is this correct?

    Does this mean that the wi-fi radio is constantly receiving, and therefore draining the battery of the device?

    (My background: One-time network engineer, but little wi-fi beyond home use. Feel free to be technical... I can always Google it later!)
  2. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Well, I do know that wifi is going to constantly drain your battery. Not sure how that works other than perhaps as you pointed out, constantly sending and receiving packets in order to maintain the connection when you open your phone randomly and want to watch a video.

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