Power Management
Power Management

Modern devices often have “system-on-chip” hardware and use Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. Such computers are capable of Connected Standby (Windows 8) or Modern Standby (Windows 10), which can place the hardware in a deeper standby state than traditional laptops and yet still have network connectivity while in standby. Tablets, 2-in-1’s, convertibles, and similar devices are typical of such modern devices. Some ultrabooks or laptops can also use Connected Standby or Modern Standby. Microsoft’s own Surface Pro and Surface Book devices are prime examples.

Connected Standby enables your computers to enter the lowest hardware power saving state, which for Windows is called Deepest Runtime Idle Power State (DRIPS). Connected Standby also works with the networking hardware to ensure that select incoming network traffic is acted on immediately and other network traffic is processed every 30 seconds. Connected Standby has been available with Windows 8 and better while Modern Standby is available with Windows 10. Modern Standby includes Connected Standby but also Disconnected Standby, which better handles scenarios where the device is sometimes in locations without available network connectivity.

Such devices are more efficient because:

  • When idle they consume around 50 milliwatts (mW) per hour, as opposed to the 500 mW per hour of traditional standby
    • This should be less than 1% of the battery capacity, meaning that you should be able to leave your device unplugged while on standby for at least 4 days and still be able to use it
  • As instant messages, internet phone calls, or similar real-time data are sent out, the device receives them in real-time and can wake the device as much as appropriate, including alerting the user
  • Routine network traffic, such as receiving e-mails, is batched and done every 30 seconds in very short bursts. Only enough of the device is powered up as needed to process the data and the user is not alerted
  • Because network connectivity is nearly continuous, details such as IP addresses are retained, ensuring the network is ready to use as soon as the device is powered back up

That is a very smartphone-like experience that users love.

Traditional computers were typically plugged into the wall power and so users would often leave them powered up ‘just in case’ (or without thinking about it). For any one computer that isn’t terribly expensive but if you have thousands, the cost is substantial. And the environmental impact of generating that electricity contributes to the global warming issues we see today.

Battery-enabled devices will power-off when the batteries are drained and they won’t be ready to use, so users are much more conscientious about powering them off when not needed. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have power-related problems.

For DRIPS and Connected Standby to perform their magic, a lot of things have to come together. Components, firmware, device drivers, and networking must cooperate. The operating system and applications must behave correctly.

The trade press is full of stories of such problems. Microsoft’s release of Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 was marred for months by such problems. As an engineer at Microsoft famously said:

Power management

NightWatchman 7.1 finds such problems by collecting the data on the client and centrally reporting it. You can check business units, regions, and specific models of computers to see where problems are more common.

With such information you can not only work to correct underlying problems but also determine which devices are actually providing the best experience in your environment; with your applications and your network.

Power Optimization is a new form of power management for your modern devices. Find out more:

Paul Thomsen
Paul Thomsen has been a Product Manager at 1E since August 2014. Current responsibilities include NightWatchman product management and special projects. That followed two and a half years at the company as a Solutions Engineer working directly with many organizations of all sizes. Prior to that Paul worked at Microsoft for 12 years, eight of which were as a senior ConfigMgr Engineer for the teams serving Microsoft IT (300,000 clients) and others. That included “dogfooding” many versions of ConfigMgr. For his first few years at Microsoft, Paul was a technical writer on the ConfigMgr (SCCM) product team. His career has been primarily IT-focused but has included several years as an application developer. Paul has been active in the ConfigMgr community for over 15 years, including presenting at many conferences, blogging at myITforum.com, writing the SMS column for BackOffice magazine for three years, and contributing to several SMS/ConfigMgr books.