Slower Internet could save power

Posted on Monday, May 12 2008 @ 03:13 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
CNET writes the power consumption of data centers could be cut by up to 80 percent if network hardware would be allowed to sleep or set up for data to travel in clusters rather than in an even flow. Lots of energy and money could be saved by implementing these tweaks but the downside is that it would slow down the Internet by milliseconds.
Energy-saving settings take several clicks to set up on Windows or Mac personal computers. But at data centers, where power consumption counts on a grander scale, equipment is often left on even when dormant.

Data centers' emissions of global warming gases exceed those of Argentina and the Netherlands combined, according to an April study by McKinsey & Co. and the Uptime Institute.

However, research from labs at Intel and the University of California at Berkeley has found that network hardware could consume up to 80 percent less energy if allowed to sleep, or if set up for data to travel in clusters rather than in an even flow. Changes to delay the flow of data by milliseconds, not enough for Web surfers to notice, reportedly cut energy use in half.

And in tests with Windows Live Messenger chatting software, Microsoft cut energy use by one-third by clustering active network connections rather than spreading them evenly across servers, noted New Scientist.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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