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High Speed Broadband Will Create Energy Bottleneck and Slow Internet, Study Says

By The ­niversity of Melbourne

November 26, 2008

A surge in energy consumption caused by the increased adoption of broadband will continue to slow the Internet, concludes a University of Melbourne study presented at the Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT. "Increased services like video on demand (VOD) will put pressure on the system and create an energy bottleneck," says Melbourne professor Kerry Hinton. The study is the first to model Internet power consumption and will enable Melbourne researchers to identify the major contributors to Internet power consumption as the adoption of broadband services grows in the coming years. Hinton says the exponential growth of the Internet is not sustainable. The results of the study show that, even with more efficient electronics, the power consumption of the Internet will increase from 0.5 percent of today's electricity consumption in Australia to 1 percent by 2020. The growing use of VOD, Web-based real-time gaming, social networking, peer-to-peer networking, and other advanced Web applications will drive the increase in power consumption. "To support these new high-bandwidth services, the capacity of the Internet will need to be significantly increased," Hinton says. "If Internet capacity is increased, the energy consumption, and consequently the carbon footprint of the Internet, will also increase." He notes that some major ICT and Internet-based companies are already experiencing difficulties due to the size and power requirements of servers, routers, and data centers.

From The University of Melbourne
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