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Consortium aims to reduce energy draw of fiber to the home

GreenTouch has begun demonstrating an optical networking approach that it said could reduce power consumption by a factor of 30 compared with current fiber to the home technology.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

GreenTouch, which is an industry group formed with the notion of improving the energy efficiency of core network technologies, is demonstrating a development that it believes will offer a power reduction of 30 times over current approaches.

The technology, called Bit-Interleaved Passive Optical Network (Bi-PON), is focused on reducing the power draw of fiber-to-the-home networks when compared to current technologies by a factor of 30 times. GreenTouch representatives noted that these networks are predicted to explode over the next five years, while 142 million subscribers reached by 2016. With that in mind, it is important to address the energy consumption, according to the members of the GreenTouch consortium.

"The impact is clear and wide-ranging, including wireless backhaul and fiber to the home," said GreenTouch Chairman Gee Rittenhouse, in a statement. "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."

The video below offers a demonstration of Bi-PON:

GreenTouch is made up of companies from the telecommunications industry that are concerned with underlying network infrastructure, so it is in their interest to keep their power requirements to a minimum. Bi-PON was developed by member companies imec (a research organization focused on nano-electronics and nano-technology); INRIA, a research organization from France; Orange Labs, the research and development arm of France Telecom-Orange; and Bell Labs, the research division of Alcatel-Lucent.

GreenTouch is also working on other projects, including one related to improving the energy efficiency of large-scale antenna systems.

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