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The Energy Intensity of the Internet: Edge and Core Networks

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Schien, Daniel, Vlad C. Coroama, Lorenz M. Hilty, and Chris Preist. 2015. “The Energy Intensity of the Internet: Edge and Core Networks.” In ICT Innovations for Sustainability, edited by Lorenz M. Hilty and Bernard Aebischer, 310:157–70. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Environmental assessments of digital services seeking to take into account the Internet’s energy footprint typically require models of the energy intensity of the Internet. Existing models have arrived at conflicting results. This has lead to increased uncertainty and reduced comparability of assessment results. We present a bottom-up model for the energy intensity of the Internet that draws from the current state of knowledge in the field and is specifically directed towards assessments of digital services. We present the numeric results and explain the application of the model in practice. Complementing the previous chapter that presented a generic approach and results for access networks and customer premise equipment, we present a model to assess the energy intensity of the core networks, yielding the result of 0.052 kWh/GB.

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