The impact of networking algorithms on the power consumption of routers


In the push towards greener ICT, there is a need to examine the energy savings possible in the design of network infrastructure and each network component. The focus of this paper is to evaluate the impact of routing algorithms on the power consumption of network routers. In a comparison of the power consumption of a number of routers implementing different routing protocols on the open source NetFPGA board, our results show the Bloom filter-based zFilter forwarding node is the greenest router. The rate control protocol (RCP) router and the precision time protocol (PTP) router consume almost identical power, which is about 1.1–1.6% higher than that of the reference router. This higher power consumption of RCP and PTP routers is attributed to the 3.6%–4.7% higher power consumption in the 3.3-V power component of the total power consumption, which is due to the higher router design complexity. Furthermore, we examined the impact of scaling down the core operational clock frequency to demonstrate the merits of energy proportional routing in each of the routers. The zFilter, operating at 62.5 MHz, outperforms the RCP, PTP, and the reference routers operating at 125 MHz, in terms of both packet loss and throughput. In addition, the zFilter operating at 62.5 MHz consumes around 10.9–11.2% less power than the reference router operating at 125 MHz. We analyze the architecture of each router to further explain these results.

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This work was co-funded by European FP7 ECONET project under grant agreement No. 258454, Zhejiang Provincial Qianjiang Talent Plan (QJD1402001), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (ZJNSF) (Grant Number: LY17F010017), EU Horizon 2020 INPUT project (Grant Agreement No. 644672), Science Foundation Ireland under the International Strategic Cooperation Award (Grant Number: SFI/12/ISCA/2496), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant numbers: 61331006 and 61372021), Zhejiang Provincial Key Project of Science and Technology Innovation Team (2010R50010), and Zhejiang Province Key Course of Circuit & System. The experiments were carried out in Dublin City University as part of the FP7 ECONET project. The authors would like to thank Harichandan Pulagam, a DCU intern from National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), India, for help installing the PTP router.

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Correspondence to Xiaojun Wang.

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Xing Zheng and Xiaojun Wang were equally responsible for the work described in the paper.

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Zheng, X., Wang, X., Sun, L. et al. The impact of networking algorithms on the power consumption of routers. Energy Efficiency 11, 189–201 (2018).

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  • Power consumption
  • NetFPGA
  • Hardware router design
  • Energy proportional network design