Energy Efficient Ethernet switches could yield competitive edge

* Firm says green Ethernet is the future

Power consumption of network equipment is becoming such a concern among users that any network gear that can address this issue will have a competitive edge, according to a recent report from analyst firm In-Stat.

In fact, one of the "thirstiest" pieces of IT equipment is the LAN switch, In-Stat says. Power-over-Ethernet shipments are up, having tripled since 2005, and PoE ports can consume more than 10 times as much as standard ports.

Although IT managers in the past have looked on green initiatives with some skepticism, In-Stat says that IT managers will be forced to take some responsibility for their organizations' power usage. Network World recently looked into rising power costs and what you can do to get them under control. 

In-Stat says that similarly equipped switches performing identical tasks can have significant differences in energy efficiency. In-Stat encourages vendors to develop energy efficiency as a competitive advantage.

Meanwhile, the IEEE continues to work on a standard for Energy Efficient Ethernet, via its 802.3az task force, which was formed after the study group's project authorization request was granted late last year.

The goal of the task force is to create a specification for reducing power consumption of Ethernet switches during periods of low link utilization. The task force is looking at physical interfaces for 100Base-T, 1000Base-T, 10GBase-T, 10GBase-KR and 10GBase-KX4. The group is meeting again next week and has estimated it could develop a standard by late 2009.

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