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Next generation wireless local area networks (WLANs) have to cope with energy budgets severely constrained by portability, autonomy and high integration requirements. Practical power management approaches currently implemented aim at reducing the transceiver duty cycle. However, recently developed energy-aware link adaptation techniques, which trade off dynamically performance versus energy consumption, potentially bringing a factor-10 consumption reduction, promise to be more effective. Yet, to enable a meaningful trade-off, systems must present sufficient energy-scalability, i.e., energy consumption benefit when reducing the performance requirements or the environment constraints. This is not the case in current WLAN transceivers for which we show that duty cycle-based power management strategies are more effective. To make effective energy-aware link adaptation possible in future WLAN transceivers, we present techniques aiming at increasing their energy-scalability. Results show that a up to 7-fold energy consumption scalability can be achieved, providing significant margin to get energy consumption reduction by adapting to the user requirements.