Updated at 12:18 am on 7/28/08.
Technology company D-Link has added eco-friendly features to its popular Xtreme N line of WiFi Internet routers. The result is decreased energy costs with reportedly no drop in performance.
According to California-based D-Link, the new WiFi routers can slash power use up to 40%. The devices will automatically detect link status and network cable length, then adjust power accordingly. The routers also feature scheduling that allows users to easily program when the WiFi radio signals are turned on and off, making for customization that can lead to further energy conservation.
D-Link's new green technology is shipping on the D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router (DIR-655), D-Link Xtreme N Duo Media Router (DIR-855), and the D-Link Xtreme N Gaming Router (DGL-4500). These routers will also support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), boosting their flexibility, security and mobility.
D-Link says it is also working company-wide to boost compliance with Energy Star standards and increase ease of recycling.
I asked Philadelphia-based Ryan Caldwell -- who runs the marketing website AdSavvy, and who has past experience deploying large-scale WiFi networks -- what he makes of D-Link's technology. "Our average WiFi router uses less than 450 Watts in a 24 hour period," says Caldwell. "That's about 165kWh annually or maybe $15-$20 per year. A 40% reduction would get you down to about 99kWh annually and save you about $5-$8 per year."
Caldwell continues, "Sure, every bit helps, but in the grand scheme of things this sort of move won't make a relevant dent in our collective energy usage. It's more of a marketing ploy than anything."
"Taken by itself, this isnt especially earth-shaking," adds Preston Gralla, the editor of GreenerComputing.com. "That being said, the greening of computer equipment will come via numerous increments, some of them very small. Any single increment may not make a dramatic difference by itself, but added together with others, especially across all households and businesses, there can be very big savings."
In any case, this announcement comes on the heels of a year of intense greening in the technology sector. In late spring, General Electric said it had doubled sales from environmentally friendly products, to $12 billion, in two years. Now we have sophisticated power saver and hibernation modes and laptops that sip rather than guzzle from the plug. Industry heavies like Google, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, Yahoo, Sun Microsystems and others have signed on to the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, with the goal of reducing computer energy use by 50% by 2010.
The Climate Savers campaign -- if there is genuine follow-through -- is expected to save $5.5 billion in energy costs and cut emissions by 54 million tons a year, the equivalent of 11 million cars or 20 coal-fired power plants. This is significant, because a total of about $250 billion is spent globally each year powering computers (sadly, about 85% of that energy is simply wasted on unnecessary idling).
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