I've been staring at this article by NewScientistTech, Delaying data could cut net's carbon footprint. And, after seeing some other places the article show up, it seemed worth posting.
People may think putting the network to sleep isn't worth the energy savings, but they need to think about the possibility that now that the network is in sleep, the rest of the hardware on the network can be in a sleep state as well. Which is probably why Intel is part of the research group, as this will help to sell energy efficient processors in servers and demonstrate a higher energy savings.
As energy prices soar, and governments and organisations start to sweat over their carbon footprint, the energy consumption of the internet is coming under scrutiny.
US academics and researchers from companies Intel and Microsoft are developing strategies to cut the consumption of computer-network hardware.
While most personal computers adjust how much energy they use depending on their workload, and shut down when unused, network hardware does not.
The servers, routers and other components of networks are designed to cope with much larger amounts of data than they do day-to-day, and use roughly the same amount of energy whether idle or busy.
But subtly tweaking the flow of network traffic to allow routers and servers to work less hard, or spend more time "sleeping" in a resting state could make dramatic savings.
The writers of the referenced research are:
Sergiu Nedevschi of the University of California in Berkeley, US, and colleagues at Intel Research labs in Berkeley and Seattle, have worked out how to make energy savings of around 50%, by delaying data flowing into a network by just a few milliseconds.
That is long enough to smooth out bursts and lulls in the data flow, and allows network hardware run at a consistently lower speed. Alternatively, information can be grouped into fewer, larger bursts to let the hardware sleep between chunks.
With today's hardware, either strategy could save between 40 and 80% of the energy used by a network's hardware, according to the researchers' simulations.