A Standard to Help Save Energy


Reading the piece from “Cabling Installation & Maintenance” the other day about the IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet standard served as a good reminder that saving energy is not all about blanking panels, variable speed drives and the like. Attacking the problem closer to the root cause is always good.

The EEE standard defines methods to reduce the energy consumption of network links during periods of low utilization. This gets right to the heart of the issue since about 50% of the wasted energy in a network is from idle gear. The concept of reducing energy on idle equipment has been around awhile but the EEE standard provides protocols to reduce power without interrupting the network connection. How much will this really save? IEEE indicates that when fully deployed the impact of the standard will be a savings of 5 terawatt-hours/yr or about 6 million 100 watt light bulbs.

The CI&M piece suggests that 10GBase-T deployments have not been as prevalent as one would expect due to the relatively high energy requirements compared to a 10GBase-SR deployment and that the passage of the EEE standard will help the cause. Time will tell if this is true but it sure seems logical.

Write back and tell us what your plans are to implement IEEE 803.3az.

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