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Large Network Equipment Now Eligible for Energy Star Label

The Environmental Protection Agency recently finalised its first Energy Star specifications for large network equipment, which is typically used by businesses and other organisations to pass Internet traffic through multiple ports at high speed. Large network equipment (i) is mountable in a standard equipment rack, (ii) supports network management protocols, and (iii) contains more than eleven physical network ports and/or has a total aggregate port throughput greater than 12 Gb/s. Specific devices that are now eligible to bear an Energy Star label include:

  • routers - network devices that route network packets from one logical network to another along a pre-defined or dynamically discovered path, based on network layer information embedded in the network packet header;
  • switches - network devices that deliver packet data frames to specific physical ports on the device, based on the destination address of each frame from the data link (OSI layer #2) within a logical network;
  • security appliances - stand-alone network devices whose primary function is to protect the network from unwanted traffic (e.g., secure tunnel and firewall appliances), including products whose primary function is to provide virtual private network services; and
  • access point controllers - network devices whose primary function is to manage wireless local area network (WLAN) traffic through one or more wireless access point devices.


The EPA indicates that data centres and server closets are estimated to consume more than two percent of total U.S. electricity, which means that improving the energy efficiency of this equipment has large potential environmental benefits. In addition to meeting power supply efficiency requirements, Energy Star certified large network equipment must include energy saving features like remote port management and energy efficient Ethernet. Manufacturers must share extensive information regarding the features and energy use of their certified products, enabling purchasers to find the product that best meets their performance and efficiency needs.

Manufacturers new to the Energy Star programme may submit a partnership agreement to the EPA to initiate the application process for the large network equipment programme. Existing partners are only required to send an email expressing their intention to certify products to the new specifications. Third-party laboratories interested in obtaining EPA recognition for these new specifications may begin the accreditation process with their accreditation body, if they have not already done so. To earn the Energy Star label products must be certified by an EPA-recognised third party based on testing in an EPA-recognised lab. In addition, manufacturers of the products must participate in verification testing programmes operated by recognised certification bodies. The new specification (Version 1.0) will take effect on 1 March.

Energy Star is a voluntary labelling programme designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Star label is now available on more than 40 different kinds of products, including home electronics, clothes washers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers, room air conditioners, commercial fryers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, commercial solid door refrigerators and freezers, commercial steam cookers, computers and other office equipment, and lighting.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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