June 24, 2014, 9:23 PM — We've discussed some of the advantages of transitioning the PSTN to IP, but there we haven't yet covered the environmental implications of the pending transition. At their annual partner conference Perspectives14, GENBAND hosted a discussion which addressed the power costs behind the PSTN, pointing out the benefits an IP transition.
In advance of that panel, GENDBAND released a statement with some insightful statistics that qualify those benefits: "The central offices that power the PSTN in the U.S. use more than 12 billion kilowatt hours of power every year, which compares to the power consumption of more than one million homes annually and the CO2 emissions of more than two million cars. PSTN phase-out options and new approaches for supporting network modernization . . . would reduce energy and water usage costs by 70%; real estate by 85% and CO2 emissions by 40%."
In his blog on PSTN transformation, GENBAND CEO David Walsh added: "With smaller and more efficient equipment, these COs can also reduce the physical footprint from big 'power hogging' decades-old switches to much smaller and more reliable equipment requiring only approximately 15% of the space -- this opens up space that can be converted into 'data center' uses, for example hosting network virtualization and cloud services." GENBAND also has a series of papers and resources on PSTN transition available by clicking here.
Grant Seiffert, President of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) who chaired the panel discussion at Perspectives14, also commented on the ecosystem effects in a statement, "The race is on to implement viable solutions that transition the PSTN to IP as the clock is ticking on infrastructure far surpassing its 25-year life expectancy and costing operators millions of dollars to operate in energy."
Our observations: We know that many organizations are working to make our communications networks "greener"--ranging from governmental agencies to the infrastructure suppliers, and especially the network service providers who bear the brunt of legacy inefficiency. When we add the ecological benefits to the range of next-generation features an IP transition brings, going green is one more big reason to step up the pace of a PSTN's evolution to a fully IP network.