Energy Efficiency Extends to Your Network: Choosing a switch with power-saving features can save you money and protect the environment

Small businesses in the U.S. spend more than $60 billion annually on energy, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Although there are many steps you can take to reduce your company’s power consumption, have you considered building energy efficiency into your network?

Whether you’re just starting to build your small business network or expanding it to accommodate your growing company, a “green” switch can help save money on your utility bill as well as contribute to a cleaner environment. Here are some features to consider when shopping for an energy-efficient switch:

Low-power chipset: Switches that run on chips made from specially processed silicon are smaller in size and therefore consume less power. Also, by using less power, the switch gives off less heat from the chips.

Fanless design: Most switches require fans to keep them from getting too hot; those fans consume power. Switches that run cooler don’t require a fan, which not only saves energy but also reduces noise.

Efficient power supply: Even power supplies are becoming more energy efficient, consuming less juice to power the switch it’s attached to.

Energy detection: Look for a switch that can determine whether a device attached to it, such as a PC, printer, or IP phone, is actually on and then turn off the power to that particular port if it’s not. Also, a switch that can automatically detect the length of the cable between it and the device it’s attached to, like a server, will use less power sending energy down the cable if it’s shorter.

If you’re interested in adding a “green” switch to your network, check out the Cisco 300 Series Switches and Cisco 100 Series Switches.

In addition to energy efficiency, there are other ways you can create a more environmentally responsible network.

What ways have you found to make your network more energy efficient? Does your company have processes in place to incent or reward energy efficiency?

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