BT engineers have apparently configured the latest generation of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) line cards to operate in a way that means the broadband service is always available, rather than always fully on. For the moment the project is still in development stage, but after the laboratory test and customer trials the development team believes it can develop the technique further.
This ‘cool broadband’ concept could reduce each line’s energy consumption by around 30%. For a UK wide 21CN access network it could save several million pounds a year in electricity costs and make a considerable reduction in greenhouse gases emissions. BT’s network infrastructure currently accounts for more than 60% of its carbon footprint and the access network represents a large part of that.
There are still some technical challenges to be overcome before the technology can be applied across the network, but it’s this sort of green ICT breakthrough that we’re going to need if we’re going to keep chipping away at the energy used by technology itself.