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Bell Labs Says Networks Can Be 1000 Times More Energy Efficient

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.

Earth 156

judgecorp writes "Bell Labs believes that data networks can be more efficient and has launched a consortium which aims to develop technology that uses only a thousandth of current network energy requirements by 2015. The Green Touch initiative is going to focus in particular on wireless, seeking to reduce wasted energy in signal broadcasts. Cynics might say Alcatel-Lucent is using its research division to distract attention from its troubles — the Financial Times described it as 'a poster child for much that is wrong in the telecoms equipment industry' — but Bell Labs still commands respect and support, and the goal it has set is an interesting one."

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Bell Labs also says that... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30739576)

Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda's penis is pathetically small.

Oblig. Nigger Joke (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30739604)

You can't hate the nigger joke without hating all the other Slashdot memes, y'know, the ones you guys keep modding up. Yeah.

Why do nigger women like to keep their legs open? Keeps the flies away.

1000 times less energy (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739616)

And how much lower is the bandwidth going to be?

Considering the push towards 4g and faster...

Re:1000 times less energy (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740758)

if you only use their patented technology!

One does wonder. (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739686)

Just how much power is being used for Cell transmissions? What about Wifi?
Think about it. Our appliances are getting more efficient all the time but how much power are our gadgets sucking up.
WiFi, Game Consoles, DVD players, Home networks, Home NAS servers, cable boxes, and TVs.
Way back when when you went to bed you turned off our TV and it was actually off.

Re:One does wonder. (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739806)

You know what else? Those kids these days, they play their music so damn loud. How much power is that using?

Re:One does wonder. (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740292)

How much? Really people get bent over SUVs but how many of those Prius owners have two or more big HDTVs, multiple game consoles, routers, PCs, DVRs, Home NAS servers, and goodness knows what else sucking down watts 24/7 often doing nothing at all?

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740458)

Yeah because no one with an SUV owns any of those things, right?

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740680)

They're stupid, they can't use computers!

Re:One does wonder. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740906)

...but how many of those Prius owners have two or more big HDTVs, multiple game consoles, routers, PCs, DVRs, Home NAS servers, and goodness knows what else sucking down watts 24/7 often doing nothing at all?

Extremes aren't numerous. Generalizations always suck.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742220)

How extreme is it for a household to have more than one HDTV? And odds are all of them are more than 32"s
How extreme is it to have at least one and probably two game consoles?
How extreme is it to have a router and or a Home NAS? I see those at the local BestBuy and WalMart everyday.
DVRs?
DVD players?
CableBoxes?
Cellphone chargers, iPod chargers?
How many people turn them off when not in use with a power strip?
Sorry it isn't that extreme of a gadget situation. Take a look at your own surroundings and think about how many devices you have with Phantom loads.
Hey I have a small car and A lot of gadgets. Only one TV. This wasn't meant to damn tech but folks we need to do something about standby power use. It makes little sense to spend a lot of money fixing air leaks in your home while having your HDTV sucking down watt after watt of power for no real reason.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742562)

Very when only Prius owners have all this.

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30742708)

Yeah, because Prius owners are notorious for not scrutinizing their power bill the same way an SUV owner would.

Re:One does wonder. (4, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740028)

I highly recommend this to everyone who has to pay an electricity bill: Unplug your appliances.

I have saved over 60% of my electrical bill by following the simple process of unplugging everything when its not in use. The only 3 things that remains plugged in are the Fridge, Stove, and the alarm clock. The Television, sound system, game consoles, all that is on a power bar so its easy to just unplug the power bar. The laptop, computer, microwave, toaster, all that stuff can be left unplugged when I'm not using them. I even do it for the washer and dryer. It is only inconvencing yourself like 3 seconds max, and after a while you get used to it.

I heard someone once say that your electronic devices still use 80% of their power consumption if plugged in, even while not in use. I think that number might be bogus, but I do believe that they still use power, even when not used.

Point is, you can save alot of money by unplugging.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

volsung (378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740118)

For $26, you can measure the power of each device on and off and figure out who the actual power hogs are:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882715001 [newegg.com]

Then at least you'll save wear-and-tear on your plugs for devices that are really off when turned off. (Like your washer and dryer, for example. I would be surprised if they draw power when off.)

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740380)

Haven't seen the new washer and dryers then. Definitely on even when off.

Re:One does wonder. (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741582)

Remember when computers had a real power button on front? A power button you had to actually push with a moderate amount of strength to operate? That button is today in the back of the computer near the power supply.

Now in these days of soft power buttons, nothing is ever really disabled. But rejoice! EPA Energy Star (TM) devices only use a minimum amount of power when in standby mode. Uhuh.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742394)

Not on any of my computers... they all have buttons in front, though to shut them down without, say, shutting down through Windows you need to hold the button several seconds (and Windows and Linux don't really like that much, so better to use shutdown). One of my boxes does have a power supply switch, as well, which is useful because the computer leeches power if it isn't switched off at the power supply (like ethernet).

As for data network efficiency, they could stop using ATM for data packets over fiber, which is only 60% efficient (the rest is header - its optimized for voice traffic) and probably save 25-30% of waste power and increase efficiency right there (TCP/IP, for instance, is something like 88% efficient for a 1500 byte packet). As I recall, CDMA used for cell phones is terribly inefficient for phone traffic, much less data (supposedly 4G networks are going to help). A back-to-front efficiency analysis probably does come to 1000% in some cases.

Re:One does wonder. (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740156)

toaster

Are you using some sort of programmable, logic-controlled toaster? I've never seen one that wasn't electro-mechanical. I highly doubt that your toaster, your clothes dryer, or your washing machine use a single watt when you're not actually running them.

Also: there are power strips/supplies with switches on them, so that you don't have to fuss over the wear and tear of actually unplugging things.

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740274)

Switiches on the power bar are fine, Just don't put the outlet switches on the wall next to the light switch, I hate houses that have this, Sure it saves power, But when i want to turn on the tv i want to do it sitting on the couch, That's why i have a remote.

enough comma's for yah?

Re:One does wonder. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741058)

enough comma's for yah?

Not only enough commas, but a bonus! A completely wrong, extra apostrophe! I hereby assign you to an afternoon of reading "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by Lynne Truss.

Re:One does wonder. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740298)

Are you using some sort of programmable, logic-controlled toaster? I've never seen one that wasn't electro-mechanical. I highly doubt that your toaster, your clothes dryer, or your washing machine use a single watt when you're not actually running them.

Luddite. MY toaster is web 2.0-enabled, runs ajax, ruby-on-rails, jboss, .NET, updates my twitter feed & facebook status (I'm making toast!) and then pushes an rss feed to my iphone when the toast is ready.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

Mateo13 (1250522) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740900)

Luddite. MY toaster is web 2.0-enabled, runs ajax, ruby-on-rails, jboss, .NET, updates my twitter feed & facebook status (I'm making toast!) and then pushes an rss feed to my iphone when the toast is ready.

That is epic. If i had mod points I'd mod you up for having the coolest damn toaster on earth.

Re:One does wonder. (2, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740968)

That is epic. If i had mod points I'd mod you up for having the coolest damn toaster on earth

No, he's a loser. My toaster is in low earth orbit.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741848)

Is it cooler than the CNC Toaster [evilmadscientist.com] , or even than this toast printer [dailyradar.com] ?

Re:One does wonder. (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741924)

Are you using some sort of programmable, logic-controlled toaster?

Sure. Why not? [kcbx.net]

Re:One does wonder. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740254)

True but how much power do all the cell towers use? I am not anti tech but the explosion of tech we have has got to be running up our power bills.
I bet the my home as a child probably used about the same amount of power as my home does today.
I fear our gadgets have wiped out our gains in efficiency and insulation.

Re:One does wonder. (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741498)

True but how much power do all the cell towers use? I am not anti tech but the explosion of tech we have has got to be running up our power bills.

Thats a very amusing question, because a typical setup of 3G equipment draws about 3 KW, yet you're asking how much the tower itself draws, which is of course zero. The equipment draw at a site varies based on auxiliary gear, power level, multiple sites on multiple towers, multiple antennas on multiple gear, etc. Suffice it to say a cell site draws enough power to keep warm in the winter, but its not much compared to a steel mill or a retail establishment. The local power company is generally unimpressed in urban and suburban areas, although in rural areas the towers tend to be in the middle of nowhere resulting in some logistical difficulty, although the power required is no major thing. Local power companies do not install new substations just for a cellsite, for example, on the other hand when colocating in a building they will require a dedicated circuit or two, maybe a tiny subpanel, probably a separately billing power meter.

On the other hand, the FAA requires substantial tower lighting, you're looking at about 1.5 KW of lighting on a big tower. See link to a typical supplier, note that light requires TWO 700 watt bulbs, pretty impressive. Then again a couple hundred watt light bulb is probably what you'd need to light up a couple hundred feet of street, it just makes sense.

So, yes you could reduce the power used by the equipment. From 3KW to 3W to fit the pie in the sky 1:1000 ratio, probably not. Even if you could magically reduce the equipment power draw to zero, by using magic pixie dust and space alien technology, tower lighting requirements alone mean you'll never be able to reduce the total site power draw below about %33 of what is currently used.

http://www.gordtelecom.com/Tower%20Lighting.htm [gordtelecom.com]

and thats before you get into discussions about aluminum towers, what with aluminum being "liquid electricity".

Re:One does wonder. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742334)

Well I was talking about a cell site. I would guess that there are a lot more cell sites than steel mills. So in round numbers you are talking about 4.5KW for the tower plus FAA lighting.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740360)

My whole house, with the refrigerator compressor not running, but the television on, uses less than 250 watts. That's 183 kilowatt hours per month, which isn't even 60% of my electric bill.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741740)

It's called standby power. A recent report found on average 13% of home energy use is used by devices in a low power state (i.e. "off"). Some devices use power to watch for remote control signals, to maintain a clock, or to download info (i.e. tv downloads new schedules). Some of it is just wasted in the transformer. Unplugging is a good option, usually by keeping things plugged into a power bar- easier than unplugging and plugging back into a socket. I also look for Energy Star rated appliances, as I think they'll also use less power when on.

That 80% number may be true for some devices, but it's not accurate overall. I think cable TV (cable, satellite, fiber) converter boxes are the worst, but most other appliances should use less.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742344)

Do you turn off your cellphone when not using it? How about unplugging the celltower?
See, you're not even close to going the full mile yet!

Re:One does wonder. (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742418)

A cell phone is like a refridgerator (figuratively, not literally). It's sole purpose is to be passively doing its job (recieve incoming calls) all the time. I turn it off when I'm in the movie theatre. Otherwise, I expect it to ring.

I do however, unplug it like I do the rest of my electronics :P

Re:One does wonder. (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740468)

and dont forget all the energy used by the digging holes in teh ground extracting copper etc and technicians vans - At one time BT had the largest fleet of comercial vehicles in the UK. Or is Acatel just lying again like when they bid for 21st Century Network contract (eledgedly)

Re:One does wonder. (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740512)

Get yourself a kill a watt meter [amazon.com] and find out. My Athlon64 computer with 7200 RPM 500 GB hard drive idles at 40 W. The TV, when off, still pulls 5 W! Now I just plug everything but the computer to a common surge protector and flip it's switch when I'm not watching TV or playing console games

Re:One does wonder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740740)

you turned off our TV

You want to make something of it?

Re:One does wonder. (1)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741822)

What the hell does it matter? Work requires energy, it is simple science that a 2 year old could understand. No one will ever be able to create an electronics-based device that will ever be able to no energy, hence the damned name. Of course, even if someone were able to do such a feat, then these "green" assholes would never allow such a device to exist. That is if they are not able to get some licensing fee for such a product.

Some of you people believe that "green" is a worthwhile view, but it is total horseshit. If there was no money to be made, then 90% of the people involved in this "green" movement would not be involved. These people would simply move on to the next big money maker. Just look at Al Gore if you are in need of an example.

Do not get me wrong, I am all for saving money and protecting beautiful areas of the world from being demolished and paved over. I enjoy spending time in some of the many beautiful and forest-covered areas in the U.S., but I am not for punishing the working class on the whims of a bunch of rich assholes. If they want to push this ideological shit, then they can subsidize this at 100% for everyone else.

Re:One does wonder. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742376)

I am talking mainly about wasted power. The Standby power that your HDTV uses is a good example. Sure a DVR needs to be "on" all the time but if you could power it all down and say use a tiny microcontoller running of say a super cap to deal with the timer and the IR receiver you could save some power. Yes it would take a few miutes to power up after got home from work but you could build in a smart system to know that you tend to turn on the TV at say 6:30 and have the micro move from cold standby to warm standby at say 6:15.
I am not a big fan of "GREEN" as the religion of the day but I really do hate waste and lazy engineering.

Speaking of Wireless (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739726)

There was an article a while back about a phone battery that is able to recharge itself by intercepting the various radio / wifi waves in its Antenna to generate a current. (Still in development, still not efficient)

I'm not sure if they mean "Energy Wasted in signal broadcast" means they want to reduce the whole broadcast in every direction as far as you can idea - or if there is some other process they plan on using to reduce the energy usage. In any event, I don't think the issue is with too many radiowaves flying through the air, I think its not harnessing the ones that do.

Speaking of crystal radios (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740036)

The first radio receivers [wikipedia.org] , about a hundred years ago, needed no batteries, they got all the power they needed from the antenna.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740066)

And every good science geek made one from his first electronics kit. That's one of the problems with everything going to digital signaling, high barrier of entry on learning the technology.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (3, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740192)

The first radio receivers, about a hundred years ago, needed no batteries, they got all the power they needed from the antenna.

That's true, and you can still build one with a few feet of wire, a ten-cent diode and a set of headphones. It will still work, too, although not very well. You must remember that 100 years ago, there wasn't the plethora of transmitters that currently exist so a receiver did not have to be particularly selective. A simple set as described will generally be overwhelmed by a local station and that's all you'll receive.

Oh, yeah--no FM either.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

Gramie2 (411713) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740598)

And the last AM transmitter in my area closed down last year.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740748)

And the last AM transmitter in my area closed down last year.

Ha, We have Lots of AM Radio Station's in the area, The Cool part is being able to hear the ones from far away at night, Not something FM can do.

The Thing is the only people that still want to use it is the right wing, off the diving board, talk radio, nut bags. everybody else seems to have moved to a more modern transmissions method(pacifica is on FM, not that i listen to it)

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742256)

Check some of the links on the post that called me to task for saying that you can't receive FM on a crystal radio. Turns out you can.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30741732)

Oh, yeah--no FM either.

Say [solomonsmusic.net] what? [somerset.net] Please [google.com] try [gizmowatch.com] one [wikipedia.org] search [oldradioworld.de] before [circuit-projects.com] posting [vacuumtubesinc.com] nonsense. [wapedia.mobi] Thanks. [allaboutcircuits.com]

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742222)

That was the perhaps most indecipherable thing ever posted to Slashdot. But it looks like you're right, I was wrong--it is possible to detect FM signals with a crystal radio. I stand corrected.

Oh, and by the way, you're about as big an asshole as the guy on solomonsmusic.net.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740652)

I'm absolutely no expert, but weren't many of those stations pumping 50,000 watts (with some short lived experiments with 250-500 kilowatts) through their antennas? So there was no power demands on the receiver side, but a significant demand from the transmitter. Is the more recent lower-power transmission model more efficient?

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741080)

I'm absolutely no expert, but weren't many of those stations pumping 50,000 watts (with some short lived experiments with 250-500 kilowatts) through their antennas?

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/amq.html [fcc.gov]

The standard daytime power level for the big ones is 50 KW, medium-ish stations run around 10 KW, and the smallest stations during the night might barely go 100 watts.

Want high power, try old fashioned UHF TV superstations around a megawatt.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (1)

Dalambertian (963810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742118)

Not to mention they still transmit excess power to turn on the little LED that confirms your FM radio station is in stereo.

Re:Speaking of crystal radios (2, Interesting)

ei4anb (625481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742024)

Modern transceivers can work on low power too. Amateur radio QRP (low power) enthusiasts have achieved communication at startingly low power levels: "In the spring of 1994, Bob Moody and Bill Brown, WB8ELK shattered this 10-meter record by successfully using only 0.720 microwatts over a 1500-mile path for over 2 billion miles per watt" quoted from "ARRL's Low Power Communication: The Art and Science of Qrp"

Re:Speaking of Wireless (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740148)

There was an article a while back about a phone battery that is able to recharge itself by intercepting the various radio / wifi waves in its Antenna to generate a current. (Still in development, still not efficient)

... and if you use that "wireless recharging battery" with a phone (or some other device with wifi) you can both USE your wifi and recharge your battery!

Re:Speaking of Wireless (1)

CyberDong (137370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740836)

RCA has one at CES [ohgizmo.com] .

Consortium? (1)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739732)

On the Green Touch website from the synopsis, I read that one of their goals is: "Nothing less than the reinvention of today’s communications networks". Does this mean that the member organizations of Green Touch will hold the exclusive rights to the manufacture of the technology that they dream up?

And, briefly setting aside the notion that energy consumption of our networks is an actual problem, why do we need to reinvent today's communication networks? What's really wrong with them?

Begin ipv4 vs ipv6 flame war in 3....2...1...

Re:Consortium? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739856)

OMG IPv6 Is bad cuz it uses more bits so more electricity has to flow through the wire which is not very green!!!!!

Re:Consortium? (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739872)

"Nothing less than the reinvention of today’s communications networks" may just be the Internet Era equivalent of "New & Improved !!" ie. marketing lingo. It might be more recognizable as such if it were in a garish colored star burst on their product packaging. Maybe after it graduates from the "good intentions phase" of their R&D to something more tangible we can discuss how revolutionary it actually is. I know I'll stay tuned. :-D

Re:Consortium? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739874)

IPv6 is obviously superior.

More address space and overhead, with embedded encryption.

Hardware or Software? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739750)

I glanced through the article but didn't see if they are planning on fixing the hardware or the software (or both).

I wonder if bad hardware or bad software leads to the greatest inefficiencies?

Isn't it real easy ? (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739752)

If we're using too much power now, that means that we're not getting our bandwidth's worth - right ?

Alcatel OEMs Aruba Networks wireless access points (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739768)

Alcatel-Lucent's 802.11 wireless access points and controllers are OEM'd from Aruba Networks [techtarget.com] . This is interesting and relevant because Aruba also has a big "green island" [arubanetworks.com] initiative.

1000 times (3, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739772)

Is that number just pulled out of their ass? Is there a base for it?

Re:1000 times (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739870)

I assume they are using Base 10.

Re:1000 times (3, Funny)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740342)

I assume they are using Base 10.

Hey, actually maybe they use base 2. They got the hint from the harddrive marketing guys.

Re:1000 times (5, Funny)

kohaku (797652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740644)

I assume they are using Base 10.

Hey, actually maybe they use base 2.

That's what he said.

Re:1000 times (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30741128)

Regrettably, no mod points, but a symbolic +1, I See What You Did There for you.

Re:1000 times (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741886)

8 times more efficient does seem like a more realistic number doesn't it.

Re:1000 times (1)

KaoticEvil (91813) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742378)

all your base are belong to us? :)

Re:1000 times (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739928)

Hey! It's impolite to ask pointed questions when a company is trying to boost brand reputation (or shareholder morale)!

Re:1000 times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30739934)

Considering that there are no specifics at all, it probably is.

Or rather, some designs was thought up on a small scale, how to improve a few devices use of energy and then applying that to all in global use now.

From their web site:

An early goal for this initiative is to deliver, within five years, a reference architecture, specifications, technology development roadmap and demonstrations of key components needed to realize a fundamental re-design of networks (including the introduction of entirely new technologies) that can reduce energy consumption – both by individuals and in aggregate – by 1000 times as compared to current levels.

That sure sounds like a paper launch, and the rest of the site is as soft on specifics as well.

1000 times just sounds too far out there (even if true), they should have started with a number that sounds reasonable like 10 times. I can't shake the feeling that 1000 was picked to grab interest (and money) from investors look for a easy and big green tech money maker.

Re:1000 times (1)

psbrogna (611644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30739960)

I didn't see a radix so I'm assuming decimal.

Re:1000 times (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740002)

I assume they looked at what we are using today to send a bit and compared it to the theoretical limit and then put in a good engineering guard factor of 10x in. Actually if they are comparing it to some of the power sapping SFP's in use today it's not to hard to imagine, if they are comparing it to SFP+ it's a little harder for me to imagine as they would need to produce a laser capable of reaching 10km using about 10mW, quite a feat.

Re:1000 times (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740034)

Sorry, make that 1mW.

Re:1000 times (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740102)

Is that number just pulled out of their ass? Is there a base for it?

There's a 93.56% chance that is correct.

Re:1000 times (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740270)

Is that number just pulled out of their ass? Is there a base for it?

Looks like base-10. Although, it could just as likely be base-2

Re:1000 times (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740562)

Actually it could be base-n, where n >= 2.

Re:1000 times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740276)

No, they're not making it up. Things like WiFi transmit almost all their power in wrong directions -- most of the power is aimed away from the listener. Things like cellular radios are limited mostly by interference from other radios -- that's avoidable noise.

Personally, I think 1000x improvement is puffery, but there's clearly a lot of room for improvement. So, they probably are pulling the number out of thin air, but they have also identified a place where they could be useful and successful even if they only improve things by a factor of 10, or even 3.

Re:1000 times (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740522)

well that depends on what type of antenea you use :-)

Re:1000 times (1)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741730)

Yes, but they're very educated asses, with a lot of PhDs, and a noble pedigree and reputation for inventing the transistor, etc, etc.

Not the facts you're looking for (3, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740154)

From TFA:

Scientists addressed the problem over the summer of 2009, and concluded that the energy used in networks could be reduced by a factor of up to 10,000 without breaking fundamental laws such as the Shannon Limit, but it would require a fundamental rethink to achieve a massive reduction, said [Gee Rittenhouse, vice president and head of research at Bell Labs]: "Today's networks are optimised for performance and simplicity".

...

The technology produced would be commercially viable and would naturally replace existing networks, as it will be backwards compatible, [consortium] members assured the audience.

Emphasis mine. There's a lot more crap in there that I didn't bother copying and pasting.

This "announcement" reads a lot like a snake-oil advertisement. This consortium will likely produce only one thing: An efficient mechanism for extracting money from investors (government or otherwise).

Re:Not the facts you're looking for (2, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742622)

>This "announcement" reads a lot like a snake-oil advertisement.

Why is this snake oil? Look at modern CPUs and all their power saving functions like speedstep. They make complete sense and save quite a bit of energy.

Now look at your typical ethernet switch. Each port eats up like 5+ watts. Yes, watts, not mW. So you're looking at quite a bit of power usage here to maintain a network connection for 100mbps or 1gbps and to maintain the spec of 100 meters. Well, most computers rarely need that full bandwidth or need the power to maintain a 100 meter run. The idea with greening the datacenter is to write an ethernet spec that dials down the power as needed, like speedstep.

Another idea is to use the cold winter air to help with cooling as opposed to just running the AC at 100% like you do in summer.

Thats not snake oil, those are good ideas, and considering that we're in the middle of energy crisis (not enough uranium to switch to all nuclear and not enough oil for cheap prices) its probably a good time to start proposing this stuff.

AKA.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740200)

We want a piece of this 10 trillion dollar global warming scam.

We will save the world but we need 20 billion of your tax dollars to do it.

Meanwhile, 15-20 million children will die of malnutrition and hunger this year.

But hey, if the sea level rises a foot in the next 100 years, it could.. well.. it rose two feet in the last 100 years, and i guess not much came of it. But still. GLOBAL WARMING guys, am i right?

Debatable, for the following... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740212)

With this development, that means replacing the entire U.S. network infrastructure. That, in and of its self, is no small feat.

Now, even if it is subsidized by the Gov, the tax payer will foot the bill. If we force the telco's to foot the bill, those costs will be passed onto the consumer. Since we, the citizenry, ultimately pay for this thing, the net expenditure of energy required to create the money to pay for it including the costs of manufacturing it and installing it, will probably exceed the energy saved by the switchover. Granted that is only valid for a few decades but the point remains.

Basically, Bell Labs finally figured out that the concept of 'energy efficiency' should rule supreme. Now if the FCC, ICC, G8 and everyone else would jump on board, we might actually progress as a civilization.

Re:Debatable, for the following... (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740418)

It's going to be replaced anyway as it becomes obsolete...
One example would be a Nortel OC-192 shelf from a decade ago. You can now replace the entire rack-sized unit consuming almost 3,000 watts with a few cards consuming maybe 200 watts in a smaller chassis.
Equipment is getting more dense and more power-efficient regardless of what Bell Labs does.

Loss of Efficiency? (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740408)

Unfortunately, any energy efficiency gains were immediately wiped out upon launching a consortium "which aims to develop technology". I'm guessing this will be mired in various committees and be over-engineered to the point their design for networks will use twice the energy now and cost four times as much as they do now.

Re:Loss of Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30741262)

The consortium is nothing more than marketing saying we need a check in the box next to "green" so they look good. "Green" is a marketing word. Put it next to anything and you're a hero. Seriously if they came out with Green Stem Cell research no one would try to block it. Add in a tax write off and probably some free money somewhere, you get some cheap research that no one can have a problem with because doing so would be anti-green (Which is right up there with the antichrist!!!).

Now before I get flamed for hating Mother Earth, I'm not trying to say we don't need to change. I'm saying there's a lot of SHIT out there that has nothing to do with actually being "green." (This gives skeptics ammo too btw.)

That efficiency will allow us... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740422)

... to grow the network eliminating the benefits of energy efficiency by allowing us to expand the network and consume more energy!

Re:That efficiency will allow us... (1)

bakawolf (1362361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740728)

if we can have 1000x the network, using the same power, I think we're doing good.

Re:That efficiency will allow us... (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740844)

But we'll be getting more from that energy, so it's still a win.

come back to me when (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30740774)

you think your network energy levels are over 9000.

thanks, im here all night. just throw money.

Re:come back to me when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30741320)

No money, maybe a hand grenade.

I'm way ahead of the curve already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740816)

All my slashdot posts have always been made from 100% recycled electrons.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30740986)

I would like to become more efficient when I masturbate. I wonder how much energy I waste getting to a point where I am ready to release that energy? could that be harnessed for something?

1 million! (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741134)

I say networks can be 1 MILLION times more energy efficient. Beat that, Bell Labs.

More important net green effect is education (2, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741538)

In the global human energy use game, the network energy use is close to noise level,
and can be probably thought of as offset by the efficiencies the net brings to other
business activities (like removing the need to fly to conferences, eliminating personal
sales calls, coordinating supply-demand chains to reduce waste and idling production
lines, allowing rapid global dissemination of technical and process best practices etc.)

Perhaps its most important effect on energy use and environment will be that it
provides a more efficient forum for discussion and dissemination of knowledge about
environmental problems and solutions. Ambitious Google Earth visualisation projects
and civilisation-strategy games which allow more and more people to be able to get their
head around some of these large-scale, long-term issues that are hard to grok if
you are not a math/science nerd. That and all the free public lectures on advanced
topics, and of course the vast knowledge base of wikipedia, which can allow rapid
but fairly precise communication and debate about important environmental and
technology choice issues (e.g. are electric cars cool? practical? affordable? effective
at reducing climate change? why or why not? How do I insulate my house properly in
a cold but humid climate? etc.)

Knowledge sharing and the rapid spreading of radical new cultural and technological
memes and attitudes. That is the most important effect that the net will have on
energy use and contribution to global warming or its solution.

The electrically efficient net is a nice-to-have, but pales in comparison to these
other factors.

Free Broadband for All (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30741630)

If the power can even be reduced by 1/100th, there would be no reasonable cause to require payment for a broadband internet connection. This would not only save an enourmous amount of energy, but it would also be a MAJOR economic stimulus.

Oh sorry, I forgot about greed.

Sigh, (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741802)

This is something we can't get working properly now! What the fuck greenies! This is like going after nuclear power, if you win this one humanity is fucked.

RCA Airnergy (1)

bruckie (217355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30741986)

Sounds like bad news for these guys [ohgizmo.com] . :)

Make it green (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742288)

Obviously it's time to pull all those wasteful orange-clad fibers out and replace them with green-clad fibers.

Wasted wireless energy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30742500)

That "wasted energy" is where the noise immunity comes from. Drop the signal to just above the noise level, and the error rate goes way up. I think most people would rather pay higher energy costs than drop more packets, but for mobile devices the inverse might be true.
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