Networking routers are on their way to becoming standard household appliances. They are typically turned on 24 hours a day, so it’s good to see that they are becoming much greener of late. Small changes in the efficiency of appliances can lead big savings, when millions of units are being sold. For example, Linksys estimates that the improved energy efficiency of their routers will save 14-17 megawatts of electricity per year (based on Linksys shipping approximately 11 million routers).
Currently, D-Link has the edge on reducing energy use. Their latest routers feature a technology they call “Green Ethernet“. This allows the routers to automatically detect connectivity status and cable length, and then adjusts power accordingly. Also included is a scheduling feature that allows users to set when the Wi-Fi radio signals are turned on and off to further reduce energy consumption. If optimized, this means that the router’s energy consumption is reduced by up to 32% for the DIR-655 router and up to 41% for the DIR-855 router.
The D-Link routers also comply with RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives. The RoHS directive limits the use of specific hazardous materials during the manufacture of electrical and electronic goods, while WEEE applies standards for proper disposal and recycling of products.
Not to outdone by D-Link, last month Linksys announced they will be minimizing packaging and introducing new power adapters that cut power consumption almost in half. For example, a router that used 4.6 watts will now use as little as 2.6 watts of power.
Linksys will be eliminating the outer sleeve of their router packaging, and all the internal packaging and documentation will be made with 80% recycled content, and printed with vegetable or soy inks. Plastic bag will be eliminate where possible. Overall, it’s a 40% reduction in waste materials compared to the previously offered packaging.
The eco-friendlier packaging will be available this month throughout retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart and online retailers on the Wireless-N Routers (namely WRT310N, WRT160N, WRT610N, WRT110, WRT54GS).
NetGear has also made its routers greener with some Energy Star certification as well as RoHS and WEE compliance. However, their features are currently not as impressive as those of D-Link and Linksys.