We have calculated the average consumption of internet boxes and what it costs us per year to answer a very simple question: does an internet box consume a lot? We also took the opportunity to ask ourselves the question of the relevance of such an individual action.
In the current context, where the cost of energy soars, in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis and ecological crisis, without forgetting the potential cuts this winter. To avoid this, the French government is implementing an energy sobriety plan.
Among the measures mentioned, mobile operators could modify the behavior of their network. To avoid cuts, Free told Univers Freebox that it was now turning off more frequencies at night. We are talking here about 3G and 4G cells at 2,100 MHz, between midnight and 5 a.m.
Internet boxes are also in the sights of the government. Internet service providers will have to set up box standby systems when they are not in use.
It must be said that the boxes are designed to remain permanently connected, although they carry relatively energy-consuming components. For years, internet boxes have also been spared from ecological regulations. An aberration, the standard that concerned them (ErP 2013 Lot 18) was even based on… voluntary work. Nothing binding for internet service providers.
Let’s do the math
As new technology enthusiasts, we wanted to know what it really was and we did some calculations.
Most of the calculations come from global estimates, there are significant disparities between internet boxes. Moreover, here, you have to be careful, because we tend to associate the internet box with the TV box for energy consumption, whereas they are generally two different boxes.
Orange’s Livebox 5, for example, was designed precisely to display reduced power consumption. Unlike the Livebox 4, it incorporates the fiber box (ONT), which allows you to remove a connected device when you are connected to fiber optics. This Livebox 5 also lacks a screen, which is one of the components that consumes the most.
It should also be understood that consumption depends on the connected accessories. For example, the Livebox 4 with hard disk consumes 11 Watts against 9 Watts without hard disk. The Livebox 5 is around 6.7 Watts. A figure as low as SFR’s Box Evolution, and much lower than the Freebox Revolution (17 Watts on average). The Bouygues Telecom Bbox Miami has an average consumption of 12 Watts.
It will therefore be understood that the most recent boxes tend to consume less energy, given that the operators have chosen to communicate more widely on their carbon footprint. However, there are some exceptions such as Freebox Delta whose consumption is 18 Watts.
For our part, we were able to measure the consumption of a Livebox 5 thanks to the much criticized Linky. It consumes about 57 kWh per year (about 6.3 Watts on average). The calculation of the energy consumption is a relatively simple calculation: celectricity consumption in kWh = number of hours x number of days x power / 1,000. In 2022, the French will pay an average of 0.1740 euros including tax per kWh (base option), which gives an approximate cost of 10 euros per year.
On more energy-consuming boxes, the Freebox Delta for example, the annual consumption rises to 150 kWh and therefore 25 euros on the bill at the current cost of electricity.
Orange Livebox Fibre
Débit jusqu’à 500 Mb/s
150 chaînes de TV incluses
Téléphonie vers 110 destinations
Bbox must Fibre
Débit jusqu’à 1 Gb/s
180 chaînes de TV incluses
Téléphonie vers 110 destinations
RED box Fiber
Flow rate up to 500 Mbps
Without TV Player
Telephony to 100 destinations
All internet boxes
Should you cut your box? Should I hibernate it?
It is true, taking into account the hours of sleep and work, we realize that the box does not have to be lit continuously and that the hours of use are rather reduced during the week.
You can also switch your box to standby mode, but be aware that the savings made remain very low… Deep standby mode is more advantageous in terms of consumption. Unfortunately, few boxes are equipped with it, and especially this mode cuts the vital functions of the box.
From a practical perspective, limiting the functions of your box could have serious consequences on the use of essential connected devices. One can cite, for example, the security camerasthem connected thermostats, connected smoke detectors, and other connected systems. It can also prevent being contacted, especially in an emergency.
Orange previously sent a press release to discuss its “hibernate” mode present on the Livebox 6. The latter reduces its energy consumption by 95%… but this mode cuts all the features of the box. The energy used is only used to bring the box out of its standby mode.
At last, consumption peaks are recorded in the evening, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., when people go home. Cutting your internet box or setting up a hibernation can be ineffective during this period, when you use your internet connection.
A necessary individual coherence which must not make real causes and consequences invisible
In any case, this action is part of an obviously important and necessary individual coherence in the face of current challenges.
However, individual ecology makes real causes and consequences invisible. There will undoubtedly be more to do with megastructures that go far beyond the individual spectrum.
Individually, you have to continue to make efforts: eat much less meat (or become vegetarian), preferably walk or cycle, lower the heating temperature, equip yourself with connected (or at least programmable) thermostats, unplugging unused chargers, disabling light standby options for game consoles… Moderate individual commitment is necessary, but it must remain realistic.
Admittedly, turning off your internet box at night may be a good idea on paper, but it only represents a drop in the ocean that is the energy site. In addition, it can cause communication problems.
A real solution could be to directly compel access providers to drastically reduce the electricity consumption of their box, without having to cut off their vital functions.
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Why cutting off your internet box has little effect on energy expenditure
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