We are all witnessing the continued proliferation of mobile devices on our networks. This device explosion has led to an increase in wireless service discovery and announcements protocols like Bonjour, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), and UPnP  (Universal Plug and Play). For example, Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour is built-in with Apple’s operating system including iOS and available on Windows as a common plugin while DLNA and UPnP are built in with Android and Windows operating system respectively.

The usage of these protocols comes with a big price: an increase in Multicast traffic because they are all inherently sent as a broadcast transmissions in Wi-Fi networks.

But why is an increase in Multicast traffic bad for users?

The answer is simple: multicast traffic increases mobile device battery consumption by forcing the device host processor to wake-up more often than required.

Have you ever wondered a drop in battery percentage while your mobile device is sitting idle of hours in your pocket? If yes, then you are probably on a network with a high percentage of multicast traffic emanating from every mobile device that is part of it.

So how can we save battery drop taxes on our mobile device without losing the ability to support these protocols?

Cisco is introducing “Battery Control,” a new feature designed to leverage Directed Multicast Service or DMS that is part of the 802.11v  standard and which is now supported by Apple devices that are running iOS7 or greater.

Cisco Battery Control offers a suite of features along with the unique ability to convert Multicast frames to Unicast, which results in higher battery savings. Cisco Wireless LAN infrastructure offers a better sleep time for the mobile device and ensures the benefits of these protocols (Bonjour, DLNA or UPnP) remains consistent.

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Figure 1: iDevice Wake-up Timetable

Figure 1 compares the mobile device wake-up timetable using the current battery savings technique vs. Battery Control for iOS7 based iDevices. In the presence of multicast traffic an iDevice is forced to wake-up every 100msec with the current technique thus causing higher battery consumption. In sharp contrast, Cisco Battery Control allows the mobile device to sleep as long as 90sec, which leads to an increase in battery savings.

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Figure 2: Battery Savings Results with Cisco Battery Control

As illustrated in Figure 2, Cisco Battery Control results in 50% battery savings when a single multicast packet is broadcasted every second over a period of 4 hours. For technical details and behind the scenes please watch the video.

Imagine all the additional time mobile user has for an awesome mobile experience with these battery savings.

For more on Cisco’s wireless solutions, visit www.cisco.com/go/wireless.



Q: Is Cisco Battery Control agnostic of mobile device type?

A: Yes, any mobile device that supports 802.11v Directed Multicast Service (DMS) will work with Cisco Battery Control.

Q: Can you list mobile devices that support DMS?

A: Today, only iOS 7 based devices support DMS & can take full advantage of Cisco Battery Control.

Q: When will “Battery Control” be available in Cisco’s wireless software?

A: Coming soon in mid-2014.  


Karan Sheth

Technical Marketing Engineer

Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group