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The potential to optimize the use of resources using digital applications is enormous. But the use of digital services, from private video streaming to cloud computing and the use of artificial intelligence, also costs energy. An energy-saving digital infrastructure is therefore of particular importance for achieving the climate goals. Prof. dr. Dr.-Ing. Kristof Obermann of the Technical University of Middle Hesse (THM) investigated the sustainability of the various internet access technologies on behalf of the Federal Association for Broadband Communications (BREKO). The result: True fiber-to-home (FTTH) networks have the lowest power consumption of any digital infrastructure. Program director Prof. dr. Dr.-Ing. Kristof Obermann says of the results: “While some optimistic assumptions were made regarding FTTC and DOCSIS and very conservative for FTTH, the FTTH technologies considered here are the most sustainable of all compared in any scenario – Germany-wide, urban, semi-Internet access technologies in urban and rural areas. They are significantly cheaper both in terms of power consumption and in terms of the total weight of the system technology to the subscriber.” The report from the Technical University provides information on the power consumption of the various Internet access technologies: According to this, pure fiber optic networks to the apartment (FTTH – Fiber to the Home) require up to 2.6 times less electricity during operation than fiber optic networks to the building ( FTTB – Fiber to the Building), up to 3 times less power than copper-based Vectoring/Super-Vectoring networks (FTTC – Fiber to the Curb) and up to 6 times less power than TV cable networks (in the DOCSIS 3.1 variant) . If you compare the power consumption of all gigabit-compatible technologies with a gigabit connection (1 Gbit/s), the advantage of fiber connections becomes even more apparent. Here, FTTH networks consume up to 3.6 times less power than FTTB networks and up to 8 times less power than cable TV networks. Fiber clearly leads even in Germany-wide delivery scenario Extrapolated to Germany’s nationwide coverage, pure fiber optic networks (FTTH) would have a power consumption of 154 megawatts. In comparison, in the same scenario, copper-based networks (FTTC) require 350 megawatts and TV cable networks 650 megawatts. Compared to TV cable networks, fiber could save 496 megawatts. This corresponds to more than 50 percent of the capacity of the Schkopau lignite power station in Saxony-Anhalt. By optimizing the hardware components, such as the router, power consumption can be further reduced. “Only on the basis of an energy-saving digital infrastructure will digitization contribute to achieving the climate goals. Due to their low energy consumption compared to other infrastructures, real fiber networks offer the possibility of energy-efficient data transmission into the building. In this way they make a real ecological contribution and are future-proof. Basis for digitization. That the new federal government has finally set a true fiber optic target is not only an important milestone for that reason. Now it is important to make the important implementation phase of fiber optic expansion efficient and resource-saving,” explains BREKO Director Dr. Stefan Albers. Fiber optic more energy efficient than 5G Fiber also performs significantly better compared to the 5G mobile communication standard. A recent study by Eoptimo from Denmark compared it energy consumption of a 1 Gbit/s fiber optic connection with an equivalent 5G connection. The result: a fiber connection consumes 85 watts, the associated 5G connection 1,157.7 watts. The power requirement of a fiber optic connection (FTTH) is therefore 13 times lower than that of 5G connection Open access saves resources In terms of sustainability, fiber networks have other advantages over other Internet access technologies: they allow for almost unlimited gigabit speeds and are the only technology that can offer equally high bandwidths for download and upload. building that today has a fiber optic connection g is well equipped for decades to come. No further expansion is necessary. This saves raw materials and also contributes to greater sustainability. Fiber optic networks also provide a high level of protection against interference. They are significantly less susceptible to interference than copper cables and can also be laid next to power and high voltage lines without causing electromagnetic interference. In order to make the expansion more sustainable, the superstructure of fiber optic networks should in particular be avoided. Instead of setting up parallel networks, fiber networks should be exploited to the fullest with open network access. This saves costs and resources and contributes to fair competition conditions.

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