Communications Power

G.W.A.T.T. analyzes Network Energy Consumption

Alcatel-Lucent today unveiled a new application developed by its research arm, Bell Labs, that network operators and others can use to explore how the use of the latest technologies can dramatically reduce energy consumption, costs and the carbon footprint of their networks. This easy-to-use G.W.A.T.T. – Global ‘What if’ Analyzer of NeTwork Energy ConsumpTion app – forecasts trends in energy consumption and efficiency based on a wide variety of traffic growth scenarios and technology evolution choices.

G.W.A.T.T. provides a view of the entire network, showing how much power is consumed at each point in the network. This makes it possible for G.W.A.T.T. to quickly identify ‘hot spots’ in a network where the most energy is consumed, and also provides a way to identify how different technologies can make the network more efficient. The application was developed as part of Alcatel-Lucent’s commitment to dramatically reducing the energy consumption and operational costs of information and communications technology (ICT) in the face of dramatic growth in data traffic and associated energy use impacts.

The rapid adoption of smart phones and tablets are driving up daily Internet traffic dramatically, and forecasts indicate that it will increase up to 85 times by 2017 compared to 2010. By 2017 more than 5 trillion gigabytes of data will pass through the network every year; this is the equivalent of everyone on the planet tweeting non-stop for more than 100 years. G.W.A.T.T. provides a roadmap of how to support this growth in a sustainable and economically viable way.

G.W.A.T.T. addresses a variety of key questions that are relevant to the ICT industry, including: Where is most of the energy consumed in the end-to-end network today? How much does it cost to power the network? What is the carbon footprint of the network? How much energy is consumed by wireless networks? By data centers? What is the impact of traffic growth and new applications and services on the energy consumption of current networks? How will the network’s energy consumption evolve based on technology evolution over the next four years?

Energy consumption models and scenarios used to build G.W.A.T.T. are based on forecasts and network modeling from Bell Labs, as well as Alcatel-Lucent’s CTO organization and independent consortia including GreenTouch and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI). Over time, Alcatel-Lucent will continually expand the capabilities of G.W.A.T.T., refining its modeling capabilities, adding new scenarios and technologies, and including new technologies and architectures currently being investigated by Bell Labs and the GreenTouch consortium.

Dr. Peter Thomond, Managing Director at Clever Together and Author of the Global e-Sustainabiliy Initiative’s and Microsoft’s report “Enabling Technology 2020: The Carbon Impact of Cloud Computing”, said: “My colleagues and I at Imperial College, Reading University and Harvard Business School have spent a lot of time in recent years analysing the potential for technology to enable or undermine carbon abatement and environmental pollution across the globe. I believe that G.W.A.T.T. offers a breakthrough in helping the ICT and telecoms sectors to understand how different technologies, alone and in combination, will impact the energy consumption of their networks. As demand for broadband services and applications skyrockets, the team at Alcatel Lucent should feel proud that they have made a meaningful contribution to the tool box of those fighting to keep energy consumption in check.”

Marcus Weldon, Corporate Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs President said: “G.W.A.T.T. is more than just a modeling tool. It is intended to guide future product and architecture evolution by allowing network operators and ICT architects and engineers to have a complete view of the energy impact of the decisions they make regarding what new technologies to introduce into their networks and when. It also can clearly explain which technology investments can have the biggest impact on energy consumption.”

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