Fast dormancy to improve smartphone networking and battery performance

Nokia Siemens Networks and Qualcomm have tested a new standardized feature that will improve smartphone performance while decreasing network congestion, the two companies said Tuesday.

Smartphones are increasingly "always on" with many applications receiving frequent updates and messages. This can cause batteries to drain fast.

The proprietary approach to solving this issue has been to rapidly disconnect from the network once information is sent or received using a feature called fast dormancy, according to Nokia Siemens. But it puts a heavy toll on mobile networks. That's because the constant connections and disconnections increase the amount of signaling traffic, which lowers overall network performance, according to Nokia Siemens.

However, a standardized and improved version of fast dormancy aims to solve this issue by allowing networks and smartphones to talk to each other in a way that takes battery life as well as network congestion into consideration, according to Leslie Shannon, mobile broadband marketing manager at Nokia Siemens Networks.

The interoperability test was done to show that the standardized version of fast dormancy works and that the "dark days" of low battery life and crippling amounts of signaling traffic will soon be over, according to Shannon. The test was conducted using a base station from Nokia Siemens and a smartphone chipset from Qualcomm.

For this to work, both networks and smartphones have to implement the standardized version of the fast dormancy feature. Since solving the underlying issue is in the interest of the whole industry, Shannon expects this to happen soon.

Nokia Siemens' base station software is getting an update this month. Earlier this month, an executive at Research In Motion said that its smartphones will implement the feature by the first quarter of next year.

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