Last month, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) demonstrated a way to improve smartphone battery life though an updated cellular network standard. Today, the company says Apple’s newest iPhone software, iOS 4.2, supports the standard, which reduces the number of times a handset radio reconnects to the network from an idle state. Networks using this technology have demonstrated battery life of 11 hours for one particular phone, while an identical handset on a network without such efficiency only saw six hours of use.
The standard is called Network Controlled Fast Dormancy or Cell_PCH and it combats the near-constant signaling that smartphone radios use to communicate with mobile broadband networks. Since smartphones aren’t yet smart enough to predict when you’ll need a wireless connection, they switch into an idle state when not in use, then reconnect as needed. This takes time, creates small bits of unnecessary network congestion and causes variable drains on the handset’s battery. Fast Dormancy aids by acting as a more intermediate state: one with less signaling and faster reconnections.
For phones to benefit from Fast Dormancy, two things have to happen. First, the mobile broadband network provider needs to support it; obviously networks built with NSN equipment are likely to do so. Second, the handset’s operating system or firmware must also support Fast Dormancy. According to NSN’s testing, Apple has added the use of this standard in the latest iOS software update, released last week.
Not every Apple iPhone will see better battery life, since network operators use various equipment. But if your iPhone appears to be lasting longer on a single charge after a day of hitting the web, you might have Nokia Siemens Networks to thank for it.
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