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Attain energy efficiency in wireline comms receivers

Posted: 24 Sep 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:energy efficiency? wireline communication? receivers energy efficient?

The efficient use of energy in communications is an area of growing interest. Many existing standards in the area of wireline communications are not designed to make efficient use of energy. For example, many standards specify that the transmitter and receiver operate at full power even when no data is being sent. This is the case in many Ethernet standards, resulting in a considerable waste of energy. This has triggered efforts to develop new standards, such as Energy Efficient Ethernet, which aim to reduce energy consumption when no data is being transmitted over a link.

Further energy savings are possible in many existing standards when data is being transmitted and channel conditions are better than the worst case for which the receiver was designed. In these cases, receivers operate with SNR above the required level. The idea presented in this work is to trade the excess SNR for lower power consumption by reducing processing in the receiver. This technique can be applied to existing standards, as it only requires modifications to the receiver and is transparent to the remote transmitter device.

This article studies the energy-efficient design of wireline communication receivers. The techniques applied to 1000BaseT receivers show that significant energy savings can be obtained. This is a consequence of the way wireline standards and devices have been designed. They aim to provide a fixed connection speed at a given BER level and do not trade excess SNR for reduced power consumption under benign channels conditions. The idea of trading excess SNR for energy consumption is assessed and is shown to provide substantial potential energy savings.

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