June 01, 2015

Smartphones and tablets will drive the mobile traffic to grow up to 89 times by 2020 from 2010, causing energy use to grow exponentially.

By 2017 more than 5 zettabytes of data will pass through the network every year. That is the equivalent of everyone in the world tweeting non-stop for more than 100 years.

One of the challenges we face as an industry is how to support that growth in a sustainable and economically viable way.

To that end, Bell Labs has developed an interactive application to highlight the current energy consumption of our ICT networks and of the Internet.

The application — called the Global ‘What if’ Analyzer of NeTwork Energy ConsumpTion, or G.W.A.T.T. — forecasts trends in energy consumption and efficiency based on different traffic growth and technology evolution scenarios.

As of 2013, devices consumed approximately 39 gigawatts, the equivalent of 7 New York cities.

Intended as an interactive, self-guided tool, G.W.A.T.T. encourages you to

  • explore the impact on network energy consumption, potential energy savings and carbon footprint reductions
  • model ‘what if’ scenarios
  • apply specific new technologies and network traffic evolutions.

G.W.A.T.T. addresses questions that matter to the industry:

  • Where is most of the energy consumed in the end-to-end network today?
  • How much does it cost to power the network?
  • What is the carbon footprint of the network? Of the wireless networks? Of data centers?
  • What is the impact of traffic growth and new applications and services on the energy consumption of current networks?
  • How does the network’s energy consumption evolve based on technology evolution over the next 4 years?

G.W.A.T.T. gives you an end-to-end view of network energy consumption. It will quickly identify the hot spots in the network where energy is consumed and show you how different technologies can make the network more efficient.

You can model different what-if scenarios and then download the output for further offline review and reference.

G.W.A.T.T. is not just a fun interactive tool for anyone who is curious about industry trends and the impact of new technologies on the energy consumption of future networks, but it is also intended to guide future product and architecture evolution by allowing network operators and ICT architects and engineers to have a complete view of the energy impact of different options and decisions they make.

The G.W.A.T.T. application is a thought-stimulating tool that is intended to drive intelligent dialogue about the sustainability potential of new technologies and the relative importance of different architectures and technologies on end-to-end energy consumption. It is based on forecasts and network modeling from Bell Labs networking and technology leaders and from independent consortia including GreenTouch and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

We hope that you find the tool useful and insightful; if so, please get in touch with us using the contact information in the G.W.A.T.T. tool. We are always open to new perspectives, new insights and suggestions, and offers to collaborate to solve what will be one of the fundamental issues confronting the future of networks in the coming years.