LONDON – GreenTouch, a global industry consortium formed by Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, has said its research shows the net energy consumption in the world's information and communication technology (ICT) networks could be reduced up to 90 percent by 2020, if a number of leading-edge technologies are adopted.
GreenTouch was formed in 2010 with the backing of service providers AT&T, China Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Telefonica and many universities and research institutes. Other companies that have joined the consortium subsequently include Chunghwa Telecom, Fujitsu, Huawei, NTT, Vodafone and ZTE.
"Networks used to be dimensioned and scaled for capacity, performance and cost, never for energy consumption. There is going to be an exponential increase in traffic over the next 10 years so the consortium was formed to look out how to handle data in a sustainable way," Thierry Klein, chairman of the GreenTouch technical committee told EE Times.
The consortium's goal at creation was to help create the technologies that would make communications networks 1,000 times more energy efficient than they were in 2010 to provide headroom for the increase in data traffic to come. Energy efficiency is defined as the ratio of the useful traffic carried by a network and the total energy required to support that traffic over a year.
For the purposes of the study, called Green Meter, this does not include energy consumed in the production of the chips and equipment that will go to make up the global ICT network.
Klein said that over the last three years GreenTouch has set up 16 collaborative projects and conducted two public demonstrations; one on the use of multiple antennas at basestations and a second on bit-interleaved passive optical networks (BI-PON).
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Energy efficiency improvements possible in mobile and wireless access and core networks. Source: GreenTouch Consortium.