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Fiber-to-the-Home Goes Green: New Technology Dramatically Reduces Energy Need

by david.nunes

Fiber-to-the-Home Goes Green: New Technology Dramatically Reduces Energy Need

Carbon Footprint Savings Equivalent to Taking Half a Million Cars off the Road; Global GreenTouch Consortium to Showcase Second Major Milestone

AMSTERDAM – March 27, 2012GreenTouch™, the global consortium dedicated to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of information and communications technology (ICT) networks by a factor of 1,000, today will announce and demonstrate a new technology that will dramatically reduce energy consumption in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, as well as other applications. The breakthrough Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON) technology is the second major milestone reached by the consortium. When deployed, it will enable a power reduction of 30 times over current technologies while improving performance and reducing cost.

The access network is a significant contributor to the total power consumption of the overall communications infrastructure, and GreenTouch determined that finding new ways to improve its energy efficiency was a top priority. FTTH is expected to nearly double over the next five years, reaching 142 million subscribers worldwide by 2016, according to ABI Research. With Bi-PON instead of the current optical technology in use, the impact on the carbon footprint is that of taking half a million cars from the roads.

Some GreenTouch member companies imec, a world-leading research organization in nano-electronics and nano-technology, INRIA, a French public research body dedicated to computational sciences, and Orange Labs, the research and development centre of France Telecom-Orange, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, will participate in today’s worldwide demonstration event.

Viewers can attend the live webinar at 11:00am ET/8:00am PT today by logging on here: http://www.media-server.com/m/p/iisig77b. Videos of technology demo and a podcast can also be accessed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/GreenTouchConsortium.  Additional information on today’s Bi-PON technology is also available on Alcatel-Lucent’s Technology and Research E-Zine, TechZine, here: http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/blogs/techzine/2012/bipon-a-more-energy-efficient-tdm-pon/

The demonstration will show live video traffic flowing through two separate networks — a standard optical network and a Bi-PON-enabled one — both attached to a power meter that will measure the energy consumption and reveal the dramatic decrease in energy consumed in the Bi-PON over traditional XGPON and XGPON operating in sleep mode.

“With this demonstration, GreenTouch again shows why it is one of the most ambitious collaborative environments in sustainable network technologies,” said Gee Rittenhouse, GreenTouch chairman. “We are committed to reducing energy consumption across all ICT networks and Bi-PON is a huge and critical step in helping us achieve that goal.  The impact is clear and wide-ranging including wireless backhaul and fiber to the home. Implementing Bi-PON over current technologies will have the energy savings equivalent to the carbon impact of permanently taking all the cars in a city like San Francisco off the road.  We are making great progress toward our goal and are planning to make advances like this across all of our 25 research projects that are currently underway.”

Bi-PON represents the next major leap in passive optical network (PON) technologies. It is expected to be a necessity as electronic processing will increase with future 40GPON systems. Current optical network units in access discard 99 percent of all processed data, without ever being used, whereas Bi-PON is built around a new protocol that significantly simplifies the electronic circuitry by using a selective data processing technique that dramatically reduces this energy consumption.
GreenTouch has now developed and demonstrated two technologies, today’s Bi-PON announcement and the Large-Scale Antenna System first demonstrated last year. Together these technologies will improve energy efficiency by more than a factor of 25.  More importantly, GreenTouch’s first two demonstrations illustrate a path toward much higher gains that will be realized in future research demos. GreenTouch is also actively working on developments across its 25 projects and aims to have new demonstrations in the coming months that will help the consortium reach its goal of creating technologies that will make ICT networks 1,000 times more efficient.  A thousand-fold reduction is roughly equivalent to being able to power the world’s communications networks, including the Internet, for three years using the same amount of energy that it currently takes to run them for a single day.
Both the Large-Scale Antenna System and Bi-PON will be demonstrated at TIA 2012: Inside the Network, taking place June 5-7, 2012 in Dallas, Texas, in the Green ICT Pavilion.

About GreenTouch
GreenTouch is a consortium of leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, academic and non-governmental research experts dedicated to fundamentally transforming communications and data networks, including the Internet, and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of ICT devices, platforms and networks.  More information can be found at www.greentouch.org and to stay updated follow GreenTouch on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/green_touch.

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