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Thread: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

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    Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    Here's an idea, slow broadband (say 2mb) uses more power as it takes longer to download say a 1GB file on a slow connection; approximately 1hr - meaning the pc/console/mobile is on for longer etc. A 30mb connection would do this in 3 and a half minutes. I know I have to leave my pc on overnight to download large files, how many other people do... I wonder how much power (and money) would be saved globally if everyone had superfast broadband?

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    Re: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    A very good point. I downloaded titanfall last night in around an hour on my new fibre (50GB) where as before it would have taken all night at least. A good point which I hadn't thought about before!
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    Re: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    I think the few pence extra in electricity bills on a mostly idle pc downloading overnight would be microscopic in comparison to the huge energy expenditure actually putting the infrastructure in place to deliver that 30Meg line to everyone.

    In terms of downloading huge games off steam, the wasted time downloading on a slow connection, I would be spending actually playing it on a faster line, using way more electricity keeping my GPU juiced.

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    Re: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    Quote Originally Posted by virtuo View Post
    I think the few pence extra in electricity bills on a mostly idle pc downloading overnight would be microscopic in comparison to the huge energy expenditure actually putting the infrastructure in place to deliver that 30Meg line to everyone.

    In terms of downloading huge games off steam, the wasted time downloading on a slow connection, I would be spending actually playing it on a faster line, using way more electricity keeping my GPU juiced.
    Good point! However say you were to play the game for the same amount of time once you downloaded, you'd still end up using more energy! Not to mention other use cases such as downloading movies or whatever people download nowadays!

    As for the infrastructure creation energy, that definitely is an issue, perhaps it's better to do it early before energy/fuel costs get to high though (wishful thinking on my behalf). Even so over a longer period, over the whole population it should still add up to a few megawatt savings?

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    Re: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    Well I suppose over a long enough period, there might be a small saving, but spread out so thinly, would anyone notice?

    I was under the impression fibre optic cables use more power in transmission than copper as well, but I might be wrong there. Would be interesting to see that comparison.

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    Re: Faster Broadband = Less Power Use?

    Let's assume that you have to leave your computer on for 8 hours more than you usually would, to complete a download. You're doing it overnight, not using your computer, so it's going to be sitting at idle for the whole of that time (because running your network interface and HDD barely use any more power than your computer sitting completely idle). A modern computer will idle at, what, 40W from the wall, so you're using a total of 40 x 8 = 320Wh of power, or in terms that make sense against your electricity bill, 0.32kWh. Assuming you have a fairly normal electricity tarrif your unit cost is going to be around 15p/kWh, so you might save a total of 5p in electric, in a best case scenario.

    As a percentage of our national electricity use it's going to be utterly insigificant. As a percentage of the cost of a AAA game at launch, it's utterly insigificant. As a percentage of your monthly spend on broadband services, it's utterly insigificant.

    Also, it's very niche - most people *don't* download massive files on a regular basis. The vast majority of internet usage is immediate - web browsing, email, streaming video/audio - so providing faster broadband won't change the energy usage for the majority of people; their computers will be turned on exactly the same amount. It's a fairly limited set of files that can't be downloaded in reasonable time-limits while you're doing other things on your computer nowadays.

    if you're looking for global strategies to affect power usage, promoting home working to stop all us lazy Westerners driving 4 miles to work each morning would be much more effective, and would also be a good driver for improving internet access - particularly low-latnecy connectivity. That or ban cars in urban area and make everyone walk or bike, of course

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