Linux tip: Save Power With Gigabit Ethernet By Using Lower Speed

Posted on in Categories Howto, Linux, Sys admin, Tips, UNIX last updated September 22, 2007

This is a reader contributed article.

These days almost all server / laptop / desktop system has a gigabit Ethernet card (NIC) pre installed. Most servers are directly connected to internet using 100Mbps connections. You can save real power on your Linux server or desktop by operating at 100Mbps Ethernet speed. For example 1 gigabit link is going to consume more power than the power used at 100Mbps speed. Also note that not all systems actually use gigabit speed. For example my desktop system only used for browsing or chatting purpose or Linux web server used to display just static web pages. Now just calculate power consumption for 100 servers or 1000 desktop systems. Bottom line use Gigabit Ethernet speeds only when needed. Did you know – you can save 2 watts or more per Linux/UNIX/Windows server/desktop by just setting a correct speed :)

See current Ethernet card speed

Use ethtool comment to display current speed:
ethtool eth0 | grep -i speed

Set new speed and save power

Following command will set card speed to 100Mbps:
ethtool -s eth0 autoneg off speed 100

=> For more information see ethtool command and network interface speed, duplex . auto negotiate settings on Linux

About the author: Rocky Jr., is an engineer with VSNL – a leading ISP / global telecom company in India and a good friend of nixCraft.