Characterizing and optimizing background data transfers on smartwatches

Yi Yang, Guohong Cao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Smartwatches are quickly gaining popularity, but their limited battery life remains an important factor that adversely affects user satisfaction. To provide full functionality, smartwatches are usually connected to phones via Bluetooth. However, the Bluetooth power characteristics and the energy impact of Bluetooth data traffic have been rarely studied. To address this issue, we first establish the Bluetooth power model based on extensive measurements and a thorough examination of the Bluetooth implementation on Android smartwatches. Then we perform the first in-depth investigation of the background data transfers on smartwatches, and find that they are prevalent and consume a large amount of energy. For example, our experiments show that the smartwatch's battery life can be reduced to one third (or even worse) due to background data transfers. Such high energy cost is caused by many unnecessary data transfers and the energy inefficiency attributed to the adverse interaction between the data transfer pattern (i.e., frequently transferring small data) and the Bluetooth energy characteristics (i.e., the tail effect). Based on the identified causes, we propose four energy optimization techniques, which are fast dormancy, phone-initiated polling, two-stage sensor processing, and context-aware pushing. The first one aims to reduce tail energy for delay-tolerant data transfers. The latter three are designed for specific applications which are responsible for most background data transfers. Evaluation results show that jointly using these techniques can save 70.6% of the Bluetooth energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE 25th International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2017
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781509065011
StatePublished - Nov 21 2017
Event25th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2017 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Oct 10 2017Oct 13 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP
ISSN (Print)1092-1648


Other25th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols, ICNP 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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