Sunday, January 25, 2009

Energy Efficiency and the Internet

I am usually careful when quoting other blog posts, but I thought that this was well worth it. The popular treehugger.com blog posted an energy usage comparison for the Internet in general. Interestingly enough, it shows how even thought the Internet is using twice the amount of power in 2006 than in 2000, the traffic has increased by 3.2 million times. That is efficiency!

According to the post, Earth2Tech says:

newer networking technologies are generally more efficient. Older technologies like dialup and traditional wireline connections use 3.56 kWh per GB. Newer technologies including fiber and power lines use .77 kWh/GB, while cable uses .72 kWh/GB and DSL sips a low .17 kWh/GB. These figures don't include the power consumption of the end-device like a laptop or a cell phone. Also remember the measurement is energy per gigabyte of data, and newer networks also transmit significantly more data than older networks.

And, Treehugger.com concludes:

this isn't very surprising, really. With "Moore's Law" making CPUs exponentially faster and new tools like software virtualization allowing one server to replace many, it was expected that a doubling of energy consumption would result in many times more data being transferred. One interesting question would be: Does the value that you get from data scale with the amount of data? It's probably not linear, for sure, but there's still value to be had in going from mostly text and static pictures to more audio and video.

It is definitely a remarkable finding that must be broadcasted to the world. We should keep going in that direction.

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