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Power consumption in networks can be cut by 90%

Posted: 14 May 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:information and communication technology  communications networks  basestations 

GreenTouch, the global consortium formed by Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, has said it research shows the net energy consumption in the world's information and communication technology (ICT) networks can be reduced up to 90 per cent by 2020.

GreenTouch was formed in 2010 with the backing of service providers AT&T, China Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Telefonica and many universities and research institutes. Other companies that have joined the consortium subsequently include Chunghwa Telecom, Fujitsu, Huawei, NTT, Vodafone and ZTE.

The consortium's goal at creation was to help create the technologies that would make communications networks 1,000 times more energy efficient than they were in 2010 to provide headroom for the increase in data traffic to come. Energy efficiency is defined as the ratio of the useful traffic carried by a network and the total energy required to support that traffic over a year.

For the purposes of the study, called Green Meter, this does not include energy consumed in the production of the chips and equipment that will go to make up the global ICT network.

Klein said that over the last three years GreenTouch has set up 16 collaborative projects and conducted two public demonstrations; one on the use of multiple antennas at basestations and a second on bit-interleaved passive optical networks (BI-PON).

Detailed evaluation

The 90 per cent energy-saving claim comes from a theoretical exercise although one that is based on a detailed evaluation of what was possible in 2010 and what will be possible in 2020, Klein said.

"We designed a baseline reference network for 2010 and looked at traffic volumes and what was possible with the best technology available, LTE and so on. Then we looked at 2020 networks and projected new traffic volumes, capacities and the evolution of protocols and architectures," said Klein.

Klein stressed that the 90 per cent energy saving in networks over 2010 is possible even while coping with the deluge of data that is expected and takes into account the Internet of Things. "The traffic numbers are based on extrapolations from Cisco and others. It may be a lot of devices but the internet of things is not expected to create a lot of data necessarily. Data volume will still be dominated by video for humans," said Klein.

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