The Internet is using more power but doing it better
As the Internet grows and more and more people are using it to watch videos or play their music and store their data it is inevitable that its overall energy usage would also climb. With numbers like 3.2 million people climbed on board the Internet train between 2000 and 2006 its not surprising to hear that its energy usage doubled.
That might sound like a lot but when you stop to think about it that doubling of energy usage is more of testament of a growing energy consciousness in the companies that manufacture the equipment used to power the Internet. Katie Fehrenbacher over at earth2tech.com pointed this out today in a post
But take a closer look at the numbers and we can see the Internet is actually getting more energy efficient. According to data from Jonathan Koomey, scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, while Internet energy use doubled from 2000 to 2006, Internet traffic has far more than doubled during that period, and has ramped up by a factor of 20 to the 5th (or 3.2 million). The reason for the discrepancy is because network technologies have gotten consistently more energy efficient per unit of data transferred over the Internet.
She also pointed out that Cisco has been trying to make its hardware more energy efficient for some time. In that effort Cisco is one of the first companies to have its switches labelled as Certified Green by the consultancy firm Miercom. One has to wonder though as we move closer to the huge data centers meant to power the Internet cloud whether that energy/user ratio will stay the same.