Wireless networks the new energy hogs

With rapid growth wireless networks will soon pass data centers as energy hogs, that’s the finding of a new report from researchers in Australia. According to Melbourne’s Centre for Energy Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) report:

Previous analysis and industry focus has missed the point: access networks, not data centres, as the biggest threat to the sustainability of cloud services…These networks are inherently energy inefficient and a disproportionate contributor the cloud energy consumption.

The report estimates that by 2015 wireless cloud energy consumption will increase 460% and in terms of CO2 will be the equivalent of adding 4.9 million cars. “Up to 90% of this consumption is attributable to wireless access network technologies, data centeres acoutnt for only 9%,” according to the CEET report. As for a solution the report concludes:

To ensure the energy sustainability of future wireless cloud services, there needs to be a strong focus on the part of the ecosystem that consumes the most energy: wireless access networks. Further debate needs to move beyond the data centre to develop a holistic account of the ecosystem with this white paper being a step in that direction.

Something to think about when we’re using our smartphones.