GreenTouch Consortium aims for 98% energy reduction in wireline, core networks by 2020

GreenTouch says it has developed new methods that can reduce net energy consumption in wireline telecom networks by 98 percent by 2020 while accounting for ongoing growth of data traffic.

It said that this savings is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 5.8 million cars.

"If you think somewhat differently from a greenhouse gas effect, this energy savings from an end-to-end network point of view corresponds to greenhouse emissions from taking 5.8 million cars off the road," said Thierry Van Landegem, chairman, GreenTouch, in an interview with FierceTelecom.

The consortium was founded in 2010 with a focus on improving the energy efficiency of data communications networks. It was formed through Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

GreenTouch is attacking the wireline energy efficiency issue on two fronts: the last mile fiber network, with a focus on passive optical networking technology, and cloud networks, by driving energy efficiency.

Through the Cascaded Bit Interleaving Passive Optical Networks (CBI-PON) concept, PON manufacturers and service providers will be able to allow any network node in the access, edge and metro networks to efficiently process only the portion of the traffic that is relevant to that node.

By making this change, which builds on its previously announced Bit Interleaving Passive Optical Network (BiPON) technology, GreenTouch said it can "significantly" reduce total power consumption.

"Cascaded Bit Interleaving Passive Optical Networks is a new architecture and a new transmission protocol for sending information in the residential access network," said Thierry Klein, chairman of the GreenTouch Technical Committee, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Instead of sending information in packets it is sent in timeslots and the CPE in the home will know  the exact timeframe when the information is destined for it, meaning the electronics in the CPE can run at the user rate versus the full line rate in the access network."

The group is also focusing on driving energy efficiency into the growing cloud service movement with its distributed energy-efficient cloud architecture.

This architecture offers a new analytic optimization framework to minimize the power consumption of content distribution networks--including the delivery of video, photo, music and other larger files--which contribute over 90 percent of the traffic on core networks. The end result is a new architecture of distributed "mini clouds" closer to the end users, instead of large data centers.

"We built a model to optimize the underlying IP over WDM network as a transport network, but also optimize where to store and optimize content in a network," said Klein. "This really answers the question of what's the optimal placement of these data centers and what content should be stored in what data center, and when should you refresh the content."

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