IEEE ratifies new 802.3az standard to reduce network energy footprint - Lightwave

IEEE ratifies new 802.3az standard to reduce network energy footprint

OCTOBER 5, 2010 -- IEEE has ratified the IEEE P802.3az Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE) standard. It is the first standard in the history of Ethernet to address proactive reduction in energy consumption for networked devices, according to a company spokesperson.
The IEEE 802.3az standard was approved on September 30, 2010; it is designed to provide network managers and networking services consumers with the tools to reduce energy consumption in network-attached devices, network routers and switches, computers, and printers.
Innovation cycles, consumer adoption, and greater demand for bandwidth have contributed to ever higher energy consumption. “In some cases, network links are fully utilized, and there is little opportunity for energy savings. However, in most cases, network links are utilized only occasionally, expending substantial energy sitting idle,” says an IEEE representative.
Electricity demand by the ICT sector for industrialized countries is between 5 percent and 10 percent of total electricity demand, reveals the ITU World Summit on the Information Society. Roughly 50 percent of this electricity is wasted by equipment that is powered on, but idle. The IEEE 802.3az amendment to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard defines mechanisms and protocols intended to reduce the energy consumption of network links during periods of low utilization, by transitioning interfaces into a low-power state.
IEEE P802.3az also uses the Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLPD) from IEEE P802.1AB and Type, Length, Values (TLVs) from IEEE 802.3bc. It enables system designers to save more than the Ethernet interface energy, enabling the communication of energy-utilization information between link partners without interrupting the network link. The new IEEE standard defines a method to reduce power consumption without interrupting the network connection.
When IEEE 802.3az-compliant products have been deployed in new and existing Ethernet networks, power savings in US alone is estimated to reach 5 terawatt-hours per year--enough energy to power 6 million 100-watt light bulbs--and reduce the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) carbon footprint by roughly 5 million tons per year.
“Minimizing energy-use is an ongoing battle, and there is always pressure on ICT managers to do more with less. The Energy Efficient Ethernet will save energy and lower operational expenses,” says Michael J. Bennett, chair of the IEEE 802.3az Energy-Efficient Ethernet Task Force and senior network engineer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The great advantage of using products supporting EEE is that there is no complex configuration necessary. In most cases, energy will be saved automatically.
“Saving energy in networked systems needs to be seamless and easy in order to achieve the greatest savings,” Bennett adds. “IEEE 802.3az enables this ease of use through standards-based protocols.”
“Market pressure and legislative action worldwide are demanding improvements in the energy efficiency of networked systems,” says David Law, distinguished engineer, HP Networking and chair for the IEEE 802.3 Working Group. “The capabilities provided by the IEEE 802.3az extension will be important as Ethernet becomes an enabler for low-duty cycle, consumer-class applications. Additionally, it will enable new system-level energy management techniques that will save energy beyond the network interface."
For additional information on IEEE 802.3az, visit The standard is immediately available for purchase in draft format at

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