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Turning off router (not modem) at night

LordFox
Grafter
Posts: 211
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Registered: 10-03-2008

Turning off router (not modem) at night

I'm going though an electrical cost-cutting exercise here; working out what I can switch off completely when not in use. Every Wh helps!

I use separate modem and router (the router negotiates the PPP), and I'm thinking of powering off the router (and the big 52-port L3 switch that follows it) at night. Occasionally I do get up in the middle of the night and want the internet, so it might be turned back on again sometimes before morning, then off again.

Given the above, I'm probably going to leave the modem itself powered on so as not to upset the idiotic equipment at BT and mess up my nice connection.

Would dropping my PPP connection (uncontrolled, just powering down the router by remote) regularly like that cause any problems at all for my FTTC connection?

It irritates me, in these days of supposedly being energy-conscious, that our internet connections suffer if they are repeatedly disconnected to save money and energy.

8 REPLIES
198kHz
All Star
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Registered: 30-07-2008

Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

You would save a very small amount in electricity consumption. However, I would be more concerned about the increased likelihood of having to replace a piece of electronic kit whose life had been shortened by repeated power cycling.

Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
SpendLessTime
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Registered: 21-09-2009

Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

@LordFox

For my router, this is the power consumption

Stock firmware measurements
  • booting draws between 2.4 and 3.5 W
  • idle power 2.4 W
  • downloading file over 2.4 GHz 3.6 W
  • downloading over both 2.4 and 5 GHz 4.1 W
  • flashing firmware 4.4 W

So at maximum power consumption, it will take 227 hours 15 minutes to consume 1kW of power which costs me 11p!

 

The real waste comes from in order heating, ovens,  tumble dryers, deep freezers, fridge/freezers, washing machines, gaming PCs, TV's and so on. Look at the big items first to get any real savings,

Andrue
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Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night


198kHz wrote:

You would save a very small amount in electricity consumption. However, I would be more concerned about the increased likelihood of having to replace a piece of electronic kit whose life had been shortened by repeated power cycling.


I wouldn't be. I've been doing exactly this for everything in my house for over a decade. Almost everything is connected through timers that turn most of my stuff off overnight and don't bring it back until the evening during the week or early morning at the weekend. I've only ever had one piece of equipment fail and that was a network switch.

As for not saving much power that depends on the router and modem. Unless it's a very new router it could be drawing 20w of power. Over a month that probably adds up to 14 units or over £2. There's also the reduced fire risk and improved security to consider (you can't hack a LAN if the router is powered off).

No I'd go further and suggest that the OP switch the modem off as well. You could be looking at savings approaching £5 a month for old equipment. And DLM is not going to react to a single power cut followed by a power on eight hours later.

If no-one is going to use the internet for eight hours powering it off will save a bit of power and do little to no harm.

198kHz
All Star
Posts: 3,388
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Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

So there we are Lord Fox - two opposing views - take your pick!

 

The question has been asked many times, on this forum and others, and there appears to no consensus.

Remember you are unique - just like everyone else
MrSilver
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Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

In answer to the original question though you should be fine just dropping the ppp later.

I'd add though that if you want to save power get a combined hub so during the day you just have one on and then no need to turn off at night.
LordFox
Grafter
Posts: 211
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Registered: 10-03-2008

Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

Thank you all for your valuable input. Especially MrSilver for answering my question Wink

 

I remain firmly of the opinion that every little Wh helps. Plus, I do tend to get obsessive when I do things like this.

 

@SpendLessTime How did you measure the power use of your router? I've been looking for a cheap but reliable and accurate mains power meter. The reviews on Amazon aren't encouraging. I'll probably have to resort to rolling my own and using my Fluke multimeters and a calculator. A bit tricky when the power factor of an SMPS can throw the readings off though.

I tend to disagree regarding the issues of turning kit off*. As Andrue said, I've routinely switched off some kit for decades, and my HDs go to sleep and wake up several times a day. I've been an electronics geek most of my life and I've always been dubious about this issue. I've seen no real evidence either way. I tend to think that a piece of kit will fail if it is going to fail, no matter what. If it fails at power on, it was due a failure anyway and was just given the little push.

My Routerboard 850Gx2 is billed as 8W, plus a small fan, and I'm assuming the little PSUs aren't very efficient. My Zyxel VMG8324 modem doesn't say but it uses a 12V 1.5A PSU, so certainly not more than 18W even with PSU losses. Probably a lot less. The switch is rated at 32W maximum (amazing for a 52-port L3 with IPv6 routing!) and supposedly lowers power if ports are unused.

Then there's the APC remote PDU (educated guess at 20W-ish if all relays are on) that lets me turn it all on/off by remote. It's all in the loft. Until recently my VMware server up there was on 24/7 but I only power that up now when I need it. I've also removed a couple of extra wireless APs, leaving only the one in the modem.

The trouble is that I do a lot of unusual stuff on my connection, on occasion, so things like switching to a combined modem/router won't really work. I have a /29 subnet and the only combined modem/router I know of that could do the same job my separate parts do is a Cisco G2 router, or an OpenBSD box (which I used to use). Both of which would use more power and be more troublesome.

 

* Incandescent lightbulbs aside, of course. Also, I think there might be some more validity to the 'leave it on' since the forced change to lead-free solder. I read a report a little while ago that, iirc, said that it can recrystallise over time. This leads to weakness which can succumb more easily to thermal cycling. I can't find the source now, so take that with a pinch of flux.

SpendLessTime
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Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

@LordFox

The energy consumption figures were measured with a Kill-A-Watt power meter and were taken from the openwrt website for my router model.

Have to say the reviews for it at Amazon are really bad so not an item to purchase. Smiley

Andrue
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Re: Turning off router (not modem) at night

If we didn't have timer controlled switches I'd probably leave them on as I'm not overly bothered about the cost or the possible environmental damage. I think it's my many years as a programmer that means I like to employ technical solutions to improve the world and I hate waste. Since timer controlled sockets are readily available and cheap it just seems obvious to me that I should use them to turn things completely off when I'm not likely to use them. Right now none of my A/V equipment is powered on. I think my Sky Q box is going to power on at 3pm (I think there was a time when I recorded something at 4pm) but the rest won't have any supply until 5pm.

My modem, router and server are all on but the server is a Fit-PC so unless spammers are having a field day it's probably idling at less than 10w.