Abstract

As community concerns about global energy consumption grow, the power consumption of the Internet is becoming an issue of increasing importance. In this paper, we present a network-based model of power consumption in optical IP networks and use this model to estimate the energy consumption of the Internet. The model includes the core, metro and edge, access and video distribution networks, and takes into account energy consumption in switching and transmission equipment. We include a number of access technologies, including digital subscriber line with ADSL2+, fiber to the home using passive optical networks, fiber to the node combined with very high-speed digital subscriber line and point-to-point optical systems. In addition to estimating the power consumption of today's Internet, we make predictions of power consumption in a future higher capacity Internet using estimates of improvements in efficiency in coming generations of network equipment. We estimate that the Internet currently consumes about 0.4% of electricity consumption in broadband-enabled countries. While the energy efficiency of network equipment will improve, and savings can be made by employing optical bypass and multicast, the power consumption of the Internet could approach 1% of electricity consumption as access rates increase. The energy consumption per bit of data on the Internet is around 75 ${\bm \mu}$J at low access rates and decreases to around 2–4 ${\bm \mu}$J at an access rate of 100 Mb/s.

© 2009 IEEE

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