Increasing network energy efficiency by a factor of 1000…

From Gail Smith, Partner, Cavell Group

I attended Green Touch event yesterday in Brussels.  Spent an enjoyable afternoon stretching my mind interacting with the research community.  Green Touch is an organization formed to bring together researchers from industry and academia with the goal of increasing network energy efficiency by a factor of 1000.

 They chose 1000 as a way to signify it couldn’t be business as usual ….
And it certainly can’t be business as usual.  The same mobile (and fixed) data explosion we cover in other blog entries is also driving huge increases in energy use by the ICT industry.  So while  ICT enables other industries to lower their carbon footprint,  the industry itself needs to start seriously working on efficiency.
Some key take aways for me from the event:
  • ICT accounts for 2% of total energy consumption now (about the same as the airline industry),  but is projected to grow to 4% by 2020.
  • Mobile networking consumes much more power than fixed,  and in the mobile network the power consumption is driven by the cell towers (80% of mobile networking energy consumption) not the devices (10%).  Already today the carbon footprint of mobile cell towers equates to 50 Million cars…
  • On placement of data centers it makes more sense to move the data center close to the source of sustainable power than to put the data center close to the source of traffic
  • Combining high speed networks and data centers close to sustainable energy you can create a virtual battery – moving workload to the data center where sustainable energy is peaking throughout the day (matching peak traffic loads to peak sustainable energy production)
  • In the fixed network CDN’s can help energy efficiency as well as optimized peer to peer protocols
  • Increasing energy efficiency opens up design alternatives that are not economical / feasible today (eg. use of solar).
If you are a techie,  there is interesting content on the site – check it out.

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