AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) - For energy-efficient apps

When apps aren’t designed to work efficiently with the cellular network, performance suffers for the end user, batteries drain faster, and network resources are not well-utilized. The issue has always been a lack of visibility into the complex interactions between apps and the lower-layer protocols normally hidden by APIs.

To make these interactions visible, AT&T Researchers and the AT&T Developer Program group have created the AT&T Application Resource Optimizer (ARO), a free diagnostic tool. By using ARO, developers can pinpoint inefficiencies in their mobile applications and thus build better apps that use less battery power and respond faster.

Download AT&T ARO from this AT&T Developer Program site.




ARO works like this: a collector component runs on the device along with the app or apps being analyzed, collecting traces and user actions. The collected data are then  fed to  the  ARO analyzer component (that can run on a PC), which performs a series of analyses at each layer of the protocol stack—RRC state machine, TCP, and HTTP—examining all cross-layer .

Based on this analysis, ARO makes specific recommendations on how developers can optimize their apps to improve performance, speed, and battery utilization while also minimizing the network impact. ARO has already been used on some popular apps; some actual ARO has already been used to analyze  many of today's popular apps. Findings include:

  • Clustering periodic transfers in a popular streaming app can achieve energy savings of 46%.
  • Prefetching thumbnails in a popular news app would achieve an energy savings of 18%.
  • Using caching on the device effectively as per HTTP standards would reduce the data  traffic  for a popular  gaming app by 45%.

AT&T ARO was conceived by AT&T researchers who, working with colleagues from the University of Michigan, undertook an in-depth, comprehensive investigation of the end-to-end data transmission paths. By analyzing the complex but normally hidden interactions between the device and the cellular network, researchers were able to identify inefficiencies in how apps transfer data and connect to the cellular network. The research behind ARO is summarized in the article A Call for More Energy-Efficient Apps and detailed in the paper Characterizing Radio Resource Allocation for 3G Networks.

AT&T partners are already using ARO and seeing improvements. Here Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora, describes how ARO benefited the Pandora app design.