How much energy does the internet use?
But that’s just one estimate, and the Internet has grown exponentially since 2011. Some newer numbers are a bit more “judgmental”.
How much electricity does the internet use?
The previous estimate is on the “leaner” side of many estimates you can find, ironically, on the Internet. Some do more eye-opening reviews the total energy consumption of the Internet, which ranges from about 200 to 400 terawatt hours per year.
If true, this is roughly equivalent to the energy consumption of Argentina or the Netherlands.
As we have seen, most of this energy is used by data centers, which are responsible for storing, processing and transmitting digital information, and by the infrastructure that connects them (such as cables, routers and switches). In addition, energy is consumed by devices such as smartphones, smart devices, laptops and tablets that access the Internet, as well as by the manufacture and disposal of these devices.
However, direct energy consumption is not the only “cost” of the Internet. All those computers, cables, and accessories must also be made of physical materials. This consumes raw materials and of course energy to make.
Attempting to estimate this energy consumption, in addition to the daily operation of the Internet, cannot ever be accurately estimated. However, even a single computer can consume a surprising amount of energy.
The amount of energy and raw materials required to build a computer can vary depending on the type and size of the computer, as well as the manufacturing process used. In general, building a computer requires a significant amount of energy and raw materials.
Manufacturing a computer involves several stages, each of which consumes energy and raw materials. Mining raw materials such as metals, plastics and glass require energy. Manufacturing microprocessors and other electronic components also requires significant energy.
Assembling these ingredients into a finished product also consumes energy. The total energy consumed in the manufacturing process of a computer varies according to some estimates 3010 to 4340 MJ per PC.
In terms of raw materials, a PC typically contains about 1.5 kg of plastic, 0.75 kg of glass, and 0.4 kg of metals such as aluminum, copper, and gold.
It is important to note that the computer industry is constantly evolving, and the energy and resource consumption during the production of computers is also changing. For example, many companies are now using more energy-efficient manufacturing processes and recycling materials to reduce the environmental impact of building computers.
It is difficult to estimate the exact number of personal computers connected to the Internet worldwide, because new computers are connected and others are constantly disconnected. Additionally, the number of personal computers can vary significantly by region, as more developed countries have a higher density of connected devices.
However, as of 2022, it is estimated that there are approx five billion internet users worldwide. If we assume that most, if not all, of these are real people, and most of them access the Internet via personal computers and/or smartphones, we can get an idea of the amount of activity likely worldwide.
This number is predicted to grow as more and more people gain access to the Internet and technology becomes more affordable and widely available.
At about a few thousand megajoules of energy to build each one, that’s a pretty substantial amount for computers to “participate” in the Internet of People.
It should also be noted that in addition to personal computers, many other connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and other IoT devices are connected to the Internet, which increases the total number of connected devices.
Great, but what about Wi-Fi?
How much power does Wi-Fi use?
For most of us, connecting to the Internet is usually achieved through a Wi-Fi connection. So you might be thinking. How much power is consumed by these networks?
The power consumption of a Wi-Fi network can vary depending on several factors, such as the number of devices connected to the network, the type of equipment used, and the specific power efficiency of the equipment. However, on average, a Wi-Fi router uses around 5-20 watts of power.
It is important to note that this estimate is based on the power consumption of the router and does not include the power consumption of devices connected to the network. The power consumption of devices will depend on factors such as the power consumption of the device and the length of time it is connected to the network.
If we want to estimate the total number of Wi-Fi networks around the world, it is also difficult, because new networks are being created and others are being dismantled all the time. Additionally, the number of Wi-Fi networks can vary significantly by region, with more developed countries having a higher density of Wi-Fi networks.
However, as of 2022, it is estimated that there are approx 27 billion Wi-Fi connected devices worldwide. This number is predicted to increase as more and more devices connect to Wi-Fi and Internet access becomes more widely available.
It’s also worth noting that this number only represents Wi-Fi networks that are currently active and in use and does not include inactive or unused networks. Additionally, this number includes both private and public Wi-Fi networks.
In any case, it’s also worth noting that the power consumption of Wi-Fi networks can be reduced by using energy-efficient equipment such as routers. Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) a feature that can be automatically turned off when not in use. Additionally, you can reduce power consumption by turning off unused devices, putting your router into power-saving mode, and updating your router and devices with the latest software to improve energy efficiency.