In search of green metrics

Telecom Asia Staff

The telecom industry badly needs metrics for measuring energy efficiency, but experts warn it will be difficult to establish standard ratings.

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), a US industry body, unveiled the first Telecommunications Energy Efficiency Ratio (TEER) two months ago, setting standard ratios for the amount of energy required to perform network functions.

Brendan Leitch, director of service provider marketing for Juniper Asia-Pacific, says standards for testing devices or specific network elements is not difficult. But rating the energy efficiency across an entire network would be, he said at a CommunicAsia panel session. 'A lot of it still depends on how the network is designed. I am not sure you can standardize that.'

Nortel Asia director Anup Changaroth said a universal rating for energy efficiency would be 'quite a challenge. I think we will see a general rating for telecom equipment, but it will take time,' he said.

Leitch said Juniper had boosted its ECR (energy consumption rating) - which measures the power required to transmit the same amount of information - from 76.9 in 1998 to 9.34 in 2007. The improvement was driven by the engineering and chip design teams, not because of a company decision to go green, he said.

But customer demand for low-carbon and energy efficient equipment was rising sharply. Juniper had seen the number of RFPs insisting on green equipment and practices rise from 37 in 2007 to 55 in 2008.

Leitch said networks with low chassis or traffic utilization had the lowest efficiency ratings, but warned that operators had to steer a course between creating adequate capacity and too much redundancy.

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