Analysts: Wireless networks still have a huge environmental cost

Despite the push by telcos to "green" their networks and produce less of an impact on the environment, and the trend toward cloud computing, wireless networks still impose a major environmental cost, according to a pair of analysts. Writing in the British newspaper the Guardian, Stuart Newstead, an analyst and former executive at O2 and BT, and Howard Williams, a professor emeritus at University of Strathclyde, note that as wireless networks proliferate, "we are witnessing the aggregation of environmental disadvantages from billions of low-powered but fundamentally energy-inefficient antennas and devices providing the 'last meter' connectivity to global networks." Citing a study from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications in Melbourne, they note that the carbon dioxide "burden of building and maintaining mobile networks has been overlooked in wireless cloud calculations, especially the antennas and wireless routers that provide connections to smartphones and tablets." The study estimates that from 2012 to 2015 wireless cloud computing will create emissions that would be the equivalent of putting around 4.9 million new cars on the road. Article