Dirk Kutscher

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Special Interest Group on Sustainable Network Operations

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IEEE Comsoc

We started an IEEE special interest group on Sustainable Network Operations (SNO), chaired by Alex Clemm and Carlos Pignataro.

With respect to sustainability, communication networks can provide opportunities as well as challenges. Invariably, they play a very important role: from resource and energy efficiency optimization opportunities, enablement of applications that reduce the need for physical travel including teleworking and remote operations, to smarter agriculture, more efficient factory floors, and shifting workloads to compute powered with renewable energy.

Many of today’s improvements are driven by general advances in computing hardware as well as in transmission technologies (both fixed and wireless). While it is critical to capitalize on this hardware and transmission driven opportunity, the complexity and interdependence of this problem calls for a holistic approach: it is important to extend questions of “greenness” to other layers in the networking stack, to different planes (data, control, and management), to routing and traffic forwarding, to the ways in which networks are organized and deployed.

Research Questions

The Special Interest Group (SIG) on Sustainable Network Operations (SNO) aims to encourage and facilitate discussion, exchange of ideas, and development of solutions related to question such as:

  • Can data planes be designed in ways that make them more energy-efficient?
  • What protocol advances could enable greener networking solutions?
  • How can networks be optimized not just for QoS or utilization but for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing energy and power efficiency?
  • What is the role of a sustainability orchestration system?
  • What novel tools are needed to operate networks more sustainably?
  • How can peak demand be flattened to minimize waste due to overprovisioning?
  • How can operators take advantage of traffic seasonality?
  • How can we even properly account for energy usage and other sustainability parameters to be optimized?
  • In which ways can network programmability, faster control loops, and AI- or intent-based networking help?

SNO aims to provide a cooperative and open forum for researchers, complementing other vendor-focused fora.


The areas of interests include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Network optimization for sustainability and power consumption
  • Carbon-aware internet protocols
  • Network operations and orchestration for sustainability
  • Network instrumentation for energy consumption
  • Energy-efficient VNF placement and Service Function Chaining
  • Pollution-aware / energy-aware / power source-aware routing
    AI/ML techniques for optimization of energy efficiency
  • Analytical models of network sustainability
  • Decentralized power source management
  • Virtual energy and sustainability in virtualized environments
  • Sleep-mode aware orchestration
  • Protocols for rapid resource commissioning/decommissioning
  • Carbon-based accounting for networking services
  • Solution benchmarking with respect for sustainability
  • Cloud-Edge Continuum from a sustainability viewpoint
  • Sustainable capacity planning to minimize overprovisioning
  • Holistic cost optimization, with energy cost as one factor
  • Computing as an element of end-to-end communications
  • Workload adaptivity in the presence of federated learning workloads

Learn more about the SNO SIG at https://cnom.committees.comsoc.org/sustainable-network-operations-sno/.

Written by dkutscher

December 30th, 2023 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Posts