OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 20, Iss. 26 — Dec. 10, 2012
  • pp: B513–B524

Worldwide electricity consumption of communication networks

Sofie Lambert, Ward Van Heddeghem, Willem Vereecken, Bart Lannoo, Didier Colle, and Mario Pickavet  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 26, pp. B513-B524 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (888 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



There is a growing research interest in improving the energy efficiency of communication networks. In order to assess the impact of introducing new energy efficient technologies, an up-to-date estimate for the global electricity consumption in communication networks is needed. In this paper we consider the use phase electricity consumption of telecom operator networks, office networks and customer premises equipment. Our results show that the network electricity consumption is growing fast, at a rate of 10 % per year, and its relative contribution to the total worldwide electricity consumption has increased from 1.3% in 2007 to 1.8% in 2012. We estimate the worldwide electricity consumption of communication networks will exceed 350 TWh in 2012.

© 2012 OSA

OCIS Codes
(000.4930) General : Other topics of general interest
(000.5920) General : Science and society
(060.4250) Fiber optics and optical communications : Networks

ToC Category:
Backbone and Core Networks

Original Manuscript: October 2, 2012
Revised Manuscript: November 9, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: November 12, 2012
Published: December 4, 2012

Virtual Issues
European Conference on Optical Communication 2012 (2012) Optics Express

Sofie Lambert, Ward Van Heddeghem, Willem Vereecken, Bart Lannoo, Didier Colle, and Mario Pickavet, "Worldwide electricity consumption of communication networks," Opt. Express 20, B513-B524 (2012)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. M. Marsan, L. Chiaraviglio, D. Ciullo, and M. Meo, “Optimal energy savings in cellular access networks,” in “IEEE International Conference on Communications Workshops,” (2009), pp. 1–5. [CrossRef]
  2. W. Vereecken, W. Van Heddeghem, M. Deruyck, B. Puype, B. Lannoo, W. Joseph, D. Colle, L. Martens, and P. Demeester, “Power consumption in telecommunication networks: overview and reduction strategies,” IEEE Commun. Mag.49, 62–69 (2011). [CrossRef]
  3. K. Hinton, J. Baliga, M. Feng, R. Ayre, and R. Tucker, “Power consumption and energy efficiency in the internet,” IEEE Netw.25, 6 –12 (2011). [CrossRef]
  4. A. P. Bianzino, C. Chaudet, D. Rossi, and J.-L. Rougier, “A survey of green networking research,” IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials14, 3–20 (2012). [CrossRef]
  5. M. C. Parker, “Roadmapping ICT: an absolute energy efficiency metric,” IEEE J. Opt. Commun. Netw.3, A49–A58 (2011). [CrossRef]
  6. D. Kilper, G. Atkinson, S. Korotky, S. Goyal, P. Vetter, D. Suvakovic, and O. Blume, “Power trends in communication networks,” IEEE J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron.17, 275 –284 (2011). [CrossRef]
  7. J. Baliga, R. Ayre, K. Hinton, and R. Tucker, “Energy consumption in wired and wireless access networks,” IEEE Commun. Mag.49, 70 –77 (2011). [CrossRef]
  8. M. Pickavet, W. Vereecken, S. Demeyer, P. Audenaert, B. Vermeulen, C. Develder, D. Colle, B. Dhoedt, and P. Demeester, “Worldwide energy needs for ICT: the rise of power-aware networking,” in “2nd International Symposium on Advanced Networks and Telecommunication Systems, 2008. ANTS ’08.”, (2008), December, pp. 1–3.
  9. M. Webb, “Smart 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age,” The Climate Group (2008).
  10. J. Malmodin, A. Moberg, D. Lundn, G. Finnveden, and N. Lvehagen, “Greenhouse gas emissions and operational electricity use in the ICT and entertainment & media sectors,” J. Ind. Ecol.14, 770–790 (2010). [CrossRef]
  11. S. Lanzisera, B. Nordman, and R. Brown, “Data network equipment energy use and savings potential in buildings,” Energy Efficiency5, 149–162 (2012). [CrossRef]
  12. “The Carbon Disclosure Project,” https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/Pages/HomePage.aspx .
  13. “World population prospects: the 2010 revision,” UN Population Division (2011). http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=population&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a12 .
  14. “Global ICT developments, 2001–2011,” ITU World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators database (2011). http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics .
  15. W. Van Heddeghem, F. Idzikowski, W. Vereecken, D. Colle, M. Pickavet, and P. Demeester, “Power consumption modeling in optical multilayer networks,” Photonic Netw Commun24, 86–102 (2012). [CrossRef]
  16. J. Koomey, “Growth in data center electricity use 2005 to 2010,” http://www.analyticspress.com/datacenters.html (2011).
  17. K. Kawamoto, J. Koomey, B. Nordman, R. Brown, M. Piette, M. Ting, and A. Meier, “Electricity used by office equipment and network equipment in the US,” Energy27, 255–269 (2002). [CrossRef]
  18. “World broadband statistics: Q4 2007,” Point-Topic (2008).
  19. “World broadband statistics: Q4 2011,” Point-Topic (2012).
  20. “The little data book on information and communication technology,” The World Bank/ITU (2007–2012).
  21. B. Urban, V. Tiefenbeck, and K. Roth, “Energy consumption of consumer electronics in U.S. homes in 2010.” Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (2011).
  22. C. Cremer, W. Eichhammer, M. Friedewald, P. Georgieff, S. Rieth-Hoerst, B. Schlomann, P. Zoche, B. Aebischer, and A. Huser, “Energy consumption of information and communication technology (ICT) in Germany up to 2010: summary of the final report to the German federal ministry of economics and labour,” (2003).
  23. “Global energy statistical yearbook 2012,” Enerdata (2012). http://yearbook.enerdata.net/world-electricity-production-map-graph-and-data.html .
  24. “Co2 emissions from fuel combustion - highlights,” IEA (2010).
  25. A. Fehske, G. Fettweis, J. Malmodin, and G. Biczok, “The global footprint of mobile communications: the ecological and economic perspective,” IEEE Commun. Mag.49, 55 –62 (2011). [CrossRef]
  26. S. Phillips, S. L. Woodward, M. D. Feuer, and P. D. Magill, “A regression approach to infer electricity consumption of legacy telecom equipment,” SIGMETRICS Perform. Eval. Rev.38, 61–65 (2011). [CrossRef]
  27. J. Baliga, R. Ayre, K. Hinton, W. V. Sorin, and R. S. Tucker, “Energy consumption in optical IP networks,” J. Lightwave Technol.27, 2391–2403 (2009). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited