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Apr 20 2016

Saving energy with a greener LAN

Twitter: @AnaPesovic

Nokia_Greener LAN
Nearly every organization today puts corporate social responsibility (CSR) high on the list of business priorities. Being eco-friendly is always an important part of CSR and every public or private organization is embracing green initiatives to cut waste, recycle and reduce their carbon footprints.

Those that are leading the way have understood that going green is both good for community and good for the balance sheet. And IT is an area that has always received a lot of attention because of its potential to reduce energy consumption as well as boost business performance.

For example, the amount of power consumed by a traditional Ethernet local area network (LAN) is significant. All the active switches and aggregators, not to mention the air conditioning units needed to cool these components, consume a lot of electricity.

A new technology is beginning to gain traction that promises to boost the LAN’s performance and make it much, much greener.

Passive Optical LAN (POL) is to Ethernet LAN what fiber-to-the-home is to copper telephone lines.

POL brings the power of fiber optic broadband technology to enterprises, university campuses, hospitals, hotels or anywhere else that uses a local area network. It is both cheaper and more powerful than Ethernet and, as well as lower energy consumption, holds many other advantages.

Passive technology actively saves 20-40% in energy

Cables
The clue to POL’s energy efficiency is in its name: it is a passive technology. For example, it only needs passive splitters to aggregate data from users and end-points whereas Ethernet relies on active components. Also, POL can be run on a centralized architecture – a rarity in Ethernet LANs larger than a few hundred end-points – and signals can travel up to 30km without needing to be boosted, so there is no need for a server room at the end of every corridor. The performance of a typical POL switch (known as an optical line terminal) is also much greater than an Ethernet switch, so you don’t need as many. In fact, whereas organizations often run separate LANs for different services, POL can handle everything in one. The overall energy savings of POL are therefore substantial.

A comparative study of POL and Ethernet LAN by our Bell Labs Consulting team calculated energy savings of between 20% and 40%, depending on the size and configuration of the LAN. These kinds of figures are invaluable for meeting targets for green initiatives such as LEED certification. And they contribute greatly to POL’s 5-year total cost of ownership being 20%-60% cheaper than active Ethernet solutions.

Cheap and green. Now that’s a good combination. This way to a greener LAN.

Download the Whitepaper: Addressing issues in the local area network: Enabling the digital enterprise with Passive Optical LAN

Learn more about how to upgrade your LAN in this press release and more on Nokia’s sustainability efforts on our People & Planet webpage.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #fiberLAN #GPON

About Ana Pesovic

Ana heads the Fixed Networks Fiber marketing activities in Nokia. She built up extensive international telecom experience, with positions in sales, pre-sales and R&D in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and India. Ana has a Masters Degree in Informatics and Computer Science from the University of Belgrade. As member of the Board of Directors of the FTTH Council Europe, she’s a strong advocate of Fiber.

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