A Greener Choice

With the emerging Energy Efficient Ethernet standard, networks are all set to go green and save you money

The full potential of Energy Efficient Ethernet can only be achieved once the network equipment as well as the networked servers and desktop equipment support the protocol. When we consider that the normal lifetime of networking gear vs. the lifetime of servers is typically different it’s easy to imagine that it will be difficult to match the buying cycles of the two. Fortunately the EEE interfaces are designed to be backwards compatible which means that one could have an EEE interface connected to a normal Ethernet interface. This won’t achieve energy savings but it allows a phased approach to the introduction of the technology into the network,” says Paulo Periera, Systems Engineering Manager, Cisco.

The IT organisation should take a stepped approach and use the coming buying cycles of either networking equipment or servers/desktops to introduce the technology keeping in mind that in order to achieve interoperability in the future it is important that the implementations adhere to the standard and not to a pre-standard or draft version of the EEE standard, he adds. 

Gautam Raj, Sales Manager, HP Networking, says an organisation should be looking for Miercom certified products and should take a real interest in the power consumption of their networking devices. “When we refer to Energy consumption of devices, it is more than just the power consumed by these devices. The more the power consumed by the devices, the more heat they generate. The more heat they generate, the cooling requirements go up.”

Will supporting it require forklift upgrades or will it more generally involve swapping out cards or software on existing gear? In other words, will there be a big up- front cost? Experts say the 802.3az standard only covers the physical layer of the OSI stack and therefore will only involve swapping out adapter cards and switching hardware at first. However, as future standards begin to reference this standard, more complex software and hardware options may become available. 

“This depends mainly on the possibilities offered by the supplier. Using more energy efficient gear normally requires a forklift upgrade; however, there may be some software features that vendors will bring to the market to reduce power, when certain functions are not needed. An example of this is switching-off the Power over Ethernet on a port when the device connected to that port is not used. But it will be very vendor specific as to whether this additional functionality can be delivered on existing switches, if it will require an additional software license, and if can be done fully automatically or only manually,” says Aziz Ala’ali, Regional Director, Extreme Networks. 

Pereira of Cisco adds that EEE involves changes to the physical layer of the Ethernet Protocol and therefore will require new Ethernet controllers with support for EEE. “However, because EEE is backward compatible with Ethernet, the technology can be introduced gradually without the need for any forklift upgrades.” 

Adopting Energy Efficient Ethernet is expected to bring in enormous power savings for oraganisations. Though it will depend on network usage, when in the low power stare PHYs will save somewhere in the vicinity of 80% of the energy they would use in a fully powered state. 

The real power savings that are made possible through 802.3az will be when higher layer standardization efforts begin to leverage that these PHYs have entered a low power mode and begin to turn off additional system level parts. There are already efforts in standards like Energy Star to include EEE as part of the overall system of power saving capabilities. 

“The total power savings of EEE will come from both sides of an Ethernet connection, the server and the switch. On smaller switches, the physical layer can consume up to 40% of the total switch energy consumption and the introduction of EEE is estimated to provide savings of up to 80% on that layer. It will take multiple generations before the power savings ripple into the rest of the system, but we estimate that total power savings greater than 60% should be feasible in 4-8 years,” says Pereira.

Energy Efficient Ethernet is often confused with Power over Ethernet. From a technical standpoint, there is no connection between both these Ethernet technologies. However, they are both aimed at reducing overall power usage. Where EEE is focused on saving power during periods of low utilisation in a single system, Power over Ethernet is focused on actually providing power to small devices that have Ethernet connections in a distributed manner to reduce the number of AC/DC conversion points. 

Recognitions and Awards

CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


CISCO SMB Marketplace FY ' 2013: Excellence Award


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution to CISCO Business 2010


Longest Associated Solution Provider for
R & M Cabling Products from
Reichle & De-Massari


CISCO Roll Of Honour Award: Significant Contribution for Business in Karnataka 2009


Best Business Partner Award from VSNL for the Year 2006


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