Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Energy Efficient Ethernet?

With just about every IT and Data Center project today including an efficiency initiative, I’m wondering how many are considering Energy Efficient Ethernet in their network & cabling plant designs?

Did you know that only copper not fiber can take advantage of energy savings from WOL – Wake on LAN and LPI – Low Power Idle, which are features covered in IEEE’s ratification of 802.3az for Energy Efficient Ethernet? Did you know that only copper, not fiber, can take advantage of existing power saving features like Power Back Off in today’s Ethernet standard?

With Data Centers (1) IT watt saved typically results in (2.8) watts saved overall due to the costs and losses incurred running the support infrastructure. So should we look to design our cabling infrastructure using copper standards? With FCOE, Infiniband over Ethernet and converged networks also running VoIP and video, it is clear the long range plan should be to continue support Ethernet standards. It is also best practice to design cabling infrastructure to support 2 levels of bandwidth ahead of our requirements today. Consider that CAT7a supports 40Gbps and in any cabling or IT design for that matter we also look to be backwards compatible, which is why ISO has adopted the GG45 connector that supports CAT7a with backwards compatibility to CAT5. Of course for distances over 100M we must design with fiber, but in many cases we should be considering MPO/MTP fiber as there are fan out cables to support the LC 10Gbps connections we need today where MPO will support the 40Gbps & 100Gbps we need to future proof my cabling infrastructure. For shorter distances the choice has typically been copper distribution and with the existing power saving features like Power Back Off and those to come in IEEE 802.3az WOL – Wake On LAN and LPI – Low Power Idle, I believe the preferred cabling distribution under 100M for Ethernet will continue to be copper. What do you think?

I’m really looking forward to hearing what industry experts from Berk-Tek, JDSU, and The Siemon Company have to say about running higher than 10Gbps transmissions over twisted paid later this month, perhaps you should check it out as well?

Here's an excellent article on Energy Efficient Ethernet in CIO magazine: