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How often do you turn off the power to your home cable (DSL, etc.) modem and/or router?

1/1: How often do you turn off the power to your home cable (DSL, etc.) modem and/or router?

Never 3,635 (67.12%)
Each night before sleep 375 (6.92%)
Only when going on vacation 1,101 (20.33%)
Whenever I leave the house 132 (2.44%)
Other? 173 (3.19%)
Other polls | 5,416 votes | 49 comments

How often do you turn off the power to your home cable (DSL, etc.) modem and/or router? | 49 comments | Create New Account
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Only when it needs it...
Authored by: ehemmete on Oct 03, '07 04:02:50PM

I chose other. I only power it off to reset it when necessary. Maybe once every 3 months or so...

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Only when screwed up at the other end
Authored by: mmulhern on Oct 03, '07 09:25:53PM

The only time I have to turn off my ADSL modem is when I power off/on to reset the connection when it is screwed up from the other end.

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how about a poll for the machines
Authored by: tbolioli on Oct 04, '07 07:57:04AM

How about a poll on how often people leave on their machines?

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Authored by: hamarkus on Oct 04, '07 08:02:28AM

My cablemodem can take quite some time to start up (up to 30 min according to the specs). And it has had its share of problems so that I do not dare to touch it when its running.

But maybe I should give it another try and switch it off at night and during the day. I already unplug my monitor's power supply over night.

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It's pretty much being used all the time
Authored by: dj_feare on Oct 04, '07 08:42:03AM

Between bittorrent, spam filtering (to keep iPhone email usable), and different work schedules, we use our connection more often than not. I do think about the energy and pay the extra money on our electric bill to subsidize windpower.

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Over-Night = Automated Work
Authored by: nomad00 on Oct 04, '07 09:22:21AM

My connection & systems stay 'awake' all night to do the random time-heavy automated stuff -- downloading large files, converting video files, etc. Always just seemed the most efficient use of time for me.

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How often?
Authored by: dzurn on Oct 04, '07 08:43:12AM

I unplug my router and cable box only a little more frequently than I turn off my refrigerator, and less frequently than I turn off my hot water heater.

How's that for flagrant 'pollution' on a grand scale? I'd run my own nuclear reactor 24/7 if I could just find quality replacement parts.

Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change.

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How often?
Authored by: appleman_design on Oct 17, '07 08:56:22AM

I hear you...LOL

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Power off? Nahhhhhh
Authored by: xSmurf on Oct 04, '07 08:43:28AM

The only time the network ever goes down is when I get a power failure (which happens almost once a month here). (No UPS, yet). The router is set to rest it's connection every month or so, but I'm not sure that counts as turning it off ;)

MacBook Pro 2.16Ghz / 2Gb / 100Gb 7200rpm / CD/DVD±RW
PM G4 DP 800 / 1.25gb / 120Gb+80Gb / CD/DVD±RW/RAM/DL
- The only APP Smurf

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Shutdown of system
Authored by: JimEndy on Oct 04, '07 09:00:38AM

I have owned Apple equipment since the late 70's. When I am done I shut the whole system down be it once during during the day or many times during the day. I have never, ever had any of my computers in for maintenance.

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Authored by: msilverman on Oct 04, '07 09:03:09AM

The amount of power used is so minimal that I don't bother. Besides, the internet is basically a utility, and needs to be available whenever I may need it. Kinda like my hot water heater (which is an energy hog)

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Always on
Authored by: corsa on Oct 04, '07 09:05:49AM

My Internet connection and iMac are also on 24/7.

Sometimes it is uploading or downloading data, and when I am away, I need remote access to my machine for work reasons.

Also, since OS X is Unix-based, I like to keep it running 24/7 so it does all those nightly/weekly/monthly crons that Unix systems do to keep themselves maintained. Also, I have automated backup scripts that run each night to back data up to external hard drives and to do remote backups for critical data.

I do have the screen set to sleep after 5 minutes, and have all my external hard drives set to spin down when not in use.

Strange thing to: I did this from 1990 to 1999 with my Commodore Amiga 3000; from 1999 to 2005 with my PowerMac G4; and from 2005 to present with my iMac G5, and I've never had a single hardware failure (apart from a floppy drive on the Amiga), hard drive failure, and I've never had to reinstall the OS on any machine. I often wonder if constant powering on and off shortens the life of hardware/hard drives, and not allowing the nightly maintenace to always run on OS's gets those out of whack too.

As far as lights and other things go, I am very adament about shutting off lights, turning off items like the TV or stereo when not in use, etc. It is basically just the computer and Internet that goes 24/7.

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Always on
Authored by: Keltia on Oct 04, '07 09:12:40AM

My router is not a blackbox device such as a netgear or dlink box, it is a full featured FreeBSD server, serving as my main www/smtp/ntp/dns server and uucp client so it is always on. The machine also does automatic things like cvsup, Mercurial conversion of repos and many more things. The laptops are put to sleep of course but the Internet connection is needed all times.

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'Never' isn't a strong enough word
Authored by: aramis on Oct 04, '07 09:17:09AM

There should be another option on the poll. "Never" just simply doesn't capture it. Something more like "Over my cold dead body," or, "Sure, right after the turn out the Sun," might be more like it.

My hardware sucks power, no doubt. I try to minimize power utilization where I can, upgrading old power sucking hulks for newer, more efficient hardware. But turning of my computers isn't an option. Disk drives fail more often from spin-up/down then from staying warm and spinning all the time. My systems are almost always downloading or updating or refreshing or something from the 'net.

Not to mention I use Vonage, so turning off the phone in the middle of the night probably isn't the greatest of ideas.

I calculated the total power usage for my server (8-drive RAID-5), router, switches etc. based on the current draw reported by my UPS. All told, I'm using about 2kWh per day. So a little over $100/yr in power, based on a quick back-of-envelope. So completely not a concern to me...

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'Never' isn't a strong enough word
Authored by: rkilgard on Oct 04, '07 10:32:08AM

I'm glad someone else did this calculation. I did this a couple of years ago for everything in my house. 90% of all the electricity was consumed by two items: the refrigerator and the clothes dryer. Yes, I'm certainly concerned about the electricity that I waste on my cable modem, wireless router, electronics on standby, etc., but they are all a drop in the bucket compared to the environmental impact of fresh food and dry clothes.

The bigger question is where you get your electricity from. Paying for wind power (as someone above suggested) is a good alternative to turning everything off all the time.

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I need to keep them up 24/7
Authored by: Hodag on Oct 04, '07 09:17:23AM

I work at home and have three DSL lines in from different companies for load sharing/redundancy. I can not afford to shut them down otherwise clients can't access their backups when I'm not around and they tend to get a bit irate.
That being said, most folks don't normally keep a pocket server farm in their basement...

Adam C.

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Server farm in the basement
Authored by: aramis on Oct 04, '07 09:28:32AM

The only reason I don't keep a pocket server farm in the basement is because the basement is too damp! They're up stairs in the bedroom, actually.

Yes, I have a very understanding significant other...

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I need to keep them up 24/7
Authored by: kray on Oct 08, '07 06:42:07PM

Never as well here. Up 24x7 because I and the wife use it all the time. Not to mention her parents (remotely), my parents (remotely), other family members, a few friends, and many of my clients.

The server farm is in the basement where I host my own services. Primarily email and dns (for all) and vnc/vpn for a few as needed. Backup services and web hosting for others that want/need it.

Nothing like having a 10Mbit (symmetrical) at home... :)

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Never, but sometimes on Vacation
Authored by: jecwobble on Oct 04, '07 10:12:47AM

I picked "never" because it was closer to what I actually do. When the whole family goes on a vacation that we will not have internet access on, I power everything down (like when we're camping). But if it's just me leaving for a while or if we will have internet access on vacation, I leave one compuer on: the one with all the important files and mail server.

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Authored by: giaguara on Oct 04, '07 10:36:11AM

Home or work - never.
While visiting parents - they have still 56k - shutting down always when not needed.

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Family ...
Authored by: mzso on Oct 04, '07 10:43:23AM

Initially I tried to keep them (ADSL modem + router) turned off while unused ... but other family members complained about it. They found it quite annoying to have to turn on before they could go online.

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Authored by: RandyMan on Oct 04, '07 10:49:35AM

My answer is really "never" (double-quotes included)...the only time the power goes off my router is when there is a power outage and my UPS doesn't last long enough, or it locks up and I cycle the power to get it going again. Unfortunately, this happens often enough (usually when I leave for several days, *right* after I leave) that I've attached it to a timer that cycles the power every 24 hours (I only turn this on when I will be gone for more than a day).

I never turn it off because behind that router is a full-service mail, web, DNS, svn, et al. server, and also serves as my conduit to other machines on my LAN when I am non-local.

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Sleep mode
Authored by: gidds on Oct 04, '07 11:33:13AM

I usually send my G5 to sleep when I'm not using it. (Meaning: when I'm not there, and when I'm not running some P2P app. Which I don't do very often really.) That saves a lot of power (spinning HDs, fans, power supply), and it's no hardship as it only takes a few seconds to wake up again.

My LCD monitor takes less power than that, but it's still an appreciable amount judging from its temperature. Turning it off is trivial, and it takes a similar few seconds to come on again, so I always turn it off when I'm not using it.

My router, though, is different. It has no moving parts, and uses much less power. (It is slightly warm to the touch, admittedly, but it probably wouldn't be if I didn't pile things on top of it.) It has no sleep mode; and so the only way to save that power is to turn it off, and then wait a minute or two for it to reconnect after turning it back on. (Assuming all's well.) Much less benefit, much more hassle. Guess whether I turn it off. Go on, you'll never guess...


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Authored by: dierauer on Oct 04, '07 11:44:45AM
I was perfectly comfortable answering "never", even though I powercycle my modem and/or router every few weeks, and even though there's occasionally a power outage that outlasts my UPS. The question says "how often do you turn off..." I don't consider those circumstances to be me "turning off" my equipment.

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My definition of Never.
Authored by: ryanjrp on Oct 04, '07 12:08:06PM
I voted never, however my definition of never, is of the five nines variety. I obviously have to reboot for regular maintenance, or power cycle the various devices to resolve an issue.

So 99.999% of the year I am connected. Some of the reasons for never turning the machines off are:

- the machine is running an internet server service (example: ftp, www, smtp, imap, etc..)
- the machine is volunteering processor time to wonderful research projects like

My thoughts are:
- it costs me around $10.00 in electricity per year to run each computer I leave on.
- I replaced an AMD Sempron 2800+ mini-tower with a 300W power supply, with an Intel Mac Mini Core Duo, to do my Windows bidding from VMware, reducing at least one of my sources of power drain.
- what help is powering off a satellite box and hard disk / dvd recorder if you can't record shows at a scheduled time, if the are hard off.
- My electric company can't claim poverty from under use, if I continue to use their product. ;) Most of the electricity in Manitoba, Canada, is generated by renewable resources using HydroElectrix generating systems.
- Our electric company exports electricity to the USA, though I still get charged a higher rate per kilowatt than the USA importers pay.


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almost never
Authored by: wolfy on Oct 04, '07 12:10:47PM

About the only time I power down the router and DSL modem is when there's a problem and I'm trying to determine if it's on my end or my ISP's end. I leave things on even when I'm vacation in case I need to get something from the desktop while I'm on the road. On the rare ocassion when I don't have my laptop with me on the road, I will power everything down, but that doesn't happen very often.


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Vacation use
Authored by: nicksageek on Oct 04, '07 12:21:10PM

I leave the machine, router, and modem on at all times. I turn off the monitors at night.

When on a business trip, or vacation, I often connect use remote control software to my home machines to access something I don't have on my macbook.

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On occasion
Authored by: chrisjniles on Oct 04, '07 12:50:31PM

I always turn off my electronic equipment when I go on vacation, even if only for a weekend. But, I never turn off the TiVo, my MacBook, my wife's iBook or my two Airport Expresses at any other time. At night is when the laptops are doing their maintenance or converting videos that TiVo has recorded, and when the TiVo is updating its schedule/software. And I can't turn off the APXs because one provides the Wi-Fi and the other is wired to the TiVo for its internet connection.

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Just answered "other" :
Authored by: regis on Oct 04, '07 01:22:29PM

I only switch it of to restart it when it is like stuck

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No net, no phone
Authored by: eboss on Oct 04, '07 01:32:24PM

In France we have "boxes" (Freebox from Free, Livebox from FranceTelecom, ...) tat are all-in-ones : modem, switch, router, wifi access point and ATA for VoIP telephony.

When I turn off my box, I'm out of the digital world, even home phone, so I never turn it off.

In fact that a real issue in France because manufacturers make no effort to reduce power consumption. I guess it's going to be an element for the choice of the Internet access provider.

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I have to leave my DSL modem on...
Authored by: dkiechle on Oct 04, '07 02:34:54PM

...because I get my telephone service through it. Here in France, people in most areas have the option of ceasing to be telephone company customers; there are several companies that compete for ADSL Internet packages (typically from 8 to 20 mpbs, depending on where one lives). Through this pipe, I get my Internet access, many TV stations, and my phone service (with free calls to fixed lines anywhere in the European Union, Switzerland, Australia, US, Canada (to North America, I don't even pay for calls placed to cell phones), most of Asia, and bargain basement rates elsewhere. The service is extremely reliable, and convenience (I just pick up the phone and dial the way I always did) and quality are top-notch. In fact, there is no perceptible difference in voice quality between the old telephone service and this brand of VoIP. Cost for the whole setup is about a euro a day (and no more phone bills!) but the downside is that the ADSL modem must be powered otherwise I have no phone service.

However, I do shut down my Mac every night when I turn in, and it is off most of the day when I'm at work.


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I do over night network tasks
Authored by: BobHarris on Oct 04, '07 06:52:49PM

I have an older iBook acting as a backup server, and it is both backing up systems at home, as well as going over the internet to back up my Mom's iMac over night.

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great question
Authored by: morgs on Oct 04, '07 09:00:25PM

I think I am going to start turning mine of at night just before I go to bed. It doesn't need to be on and I do like the idea of saving power for all the usual reasons. Great to see someone asking the environmental questions.

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Dry clothes?
Authored by: zoopiedoop on Oct 05, '07 01:25:16AM

Anyone else using a clothes line? I feel so developing world in doing it, but it makes me feel good. And they smell nature fresh!

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Dry clothes?
Authored by: kirkmc on Oct 05, '07 04:56:52AM

I've never owned a clothes dryer. Why is it "developing world"? Granted, if you live in an apartment, it's not practical, but I live in a house, in an area with plenty of sun, and it's a no-brainer.


Read my blog: Kirkville --
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more

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Dry clothes?
Authored by: robg on Oct 05, '07 10:55:03AM

I tried one in Oregon, but the clothes I put out in November hadn't dried by late June, so it looks like a no go :).


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Never cause the cable co says so...
Authored by: josephaw on Oct 05, '07 05:14:34AM

I used to switch my cable modem off at night but I had trouble getting an ip address in the morning, called the cable company and they told me to leave it on all the time because sometimes their dhcp servers are busy and it can take a while to reassign a new ip address to my box.

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Authored by: levonbragg on Oct 05, '07 06:02:41AM

To me, all devices are like lightbulbs. There is a finite number of times they will turn on and off before "going out". So, I leave it all on...

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Authored by: robogobo on Oct 12, '07 02:09:02PM

I think lightbulbs have a finite number of hours, not on/off cycles. For example, if a lightbulb is turned on only once, will it last forever? I'd say it's a combination of cycles and hours, for all mechanical and electrical things. So don't turn your computer off everytime you stop using it, but don't leave it running all the time, either. Moderation, as usual, is key.

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Authored by: Aegir on Oct 05, '07 06:30:35AM

Whenever there is a thunderstorm approaching, I turn off all sensitive electronics. Also when I am on holiday, when I cannot hear the thunderstorm approaching:) (and yes, I have a home business).

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Startup vs idle?
Authored by: DougAdams on Oct 05, '07 07:34:19AM
I've had engineers tell me that a device will use more power when starting up then it would if it was just sitting idle so you might as well just leave it on. I suppose this depends on the device. (Also, from the Grain-Of-Salt Dept., these were radio engineers, who wore suspenders and flannel shirts and said "Yep yep yep" and stuff like that and everything. Hi, Duff!)

Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes

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internet should NEVER be turned off!
Authored by: zahadum on Oct 05, '07 10:45:30AM

* as for pollution - nope, my information devices are powered by clean, reliable buclear energy ...

if your supplier is using coal, they do have the choice to use _clean_ coal technology - so that is just a matter for you to advocate as a consumer & as a citizen (to get proper environmental regulation by govt).

dont blame your the mac for a problem that is caused by the P.C. ... that's a small pun :-) ... 'pc' as in political correct fear mongers who oppose one the only rational forms of energy production (which are: fisson: fusion; hydrogen feul-cells - everything else is nice but everything else is just tinkering at the margins).

* as for being wasteful ... rubbish!

in the future, our home servers / media hubs will be on 24x7 ... downloading HD video (legally or pirated); collecting voicemail from voip; running a proxy server as a public service, so that dissidents in Burma & China etc can escape internet censorship; provinding NAS services for media up-streaming like 'Sling'; proving metering services for utilities; proving security alarm services (jumping to wifi mesh on a ups if a burular tries to cut wirelines); etc etc.

in other words, this silly comment about turning off the internet is made by someone who doesnt _really_ use the internet seriously.

mailto:osxinfo _at_

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Other stuff
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 06, '07 09:26:51PM

In our household, not only do we switch off the DSL router and network printer when we're not using them, we leave the toaster oven and µwave switched off for the same reason (and when they're on they flash 12:00). We live in a desert climate, so hot water comes through the cold pipe -- the heater runs, but only as a backup for chilly days, i.e. < 75˚ F. (I've worked it out that it would be more wasteful to switch it off and on). What else? We seldom use the alarm clock, because the sun wakes us up in summer, and the pre-dawn chill in winter. This is more regular than clockwork, natch.

Yeah, it sounds like a lot to do, but if you give up one thing at a time, it's pretty easy. Just like the vegan diet, which, one of these days will save your climate-changing butts.

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It stays on, but...
Authored by: dille on Oct 07, '07 03:41:58AM

I leave the router (and wireless to wired bridge) switched on for convinience. The cable modem is not under my control, and since the whole building is using it at all kinds of hours, shutting it down would get me lynched. =] The internet comes in at one point, is distributed through wifi, and then goes through a wifi-to-ethernet bridge at each room/appartment in the building. Not the way I would've set it up, but it's not my decision to make.

I *do* switch off my (flat panel) monitor when not in use, tho, as well as the TV, DVD player, etc. The guy I share this appartment with has the habit of just leaving everything on, including his PC that no doubt uses a few gigawatts per minute just to keep the turbine-sized fans running -- I did set his (windoze) box up to go to sleep after two hours of non-use, tho. He also likes to crank up the heating to insane heights instead of just wearing a sweater. Thank god he'll be gone by the end of the month.

As for my computer: it's a Mac mini. I don't suspect it to be a power hog and I often have it download stuff when I'm asleap or off to work, so it stays on. If I'm gone for more than a day, I switch it off (hibernate, actually, thanks to the hint that was posted ages ago), as well as the external FW harddrive.
When I make a pot of coffee, I often switch off the (still heating) coffee maker and pour the coffee in a thermos flask. I don't have AC, nor do I want it or need it -- the climate in the Netherlands doesn't require it, it makes me feel crummy, and it's damn expensive. Even in winter, the heating doesn't go above 20°C (68°F) as far as I'm concerned. I also don't drive a car.

Finally, in the Netherlands, most energy providers give you the option of having "green current", which means that when you choose that, they get a ration of energy from environmentally safe(r) sources, like bio mass or wind. I may still use more energy than strictly needed, but at least my ration is somewhat "clean".

As for the "which power wart runs warm"-test: the external FW harddisk one does, the Mac mini brick stays mostly cool, as do the router/bridge ones.

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Voted Never
Authored by: macgallery on Oct 07, '07 07:59:58PM

I have my Mac & external items connected to a UPS. When I am going to be gone for several days or more, I do power down the Mac & printer.

Cheers, Tom

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Cable modem shouldn't be turned off
Authored by: Ilgaz on Oct 10, '07 12:22:06AM

the DOCSIS system doesn't work like a phone modem or DSL, Cable modems "help" eachother, that is why they have 46mbit bandwidth.

Some cable modems (e.g. Motorola SB4000+) have "online" switch on them, that can help energy saving as I assume it turns off the NIC part but the cable modem is a device which is designed never to turn off.

Instead of turning off, I would disable unused ethernet ports (I got 2 on quad G5), replace old technology light bulbs with new tech ones, use a low CPU "real" screensaver (like computer name), set monitor off to 20-25 min (as this is CRT) and most importantly, on my machine, enable "Automatic" in CPU performance options.

For routers, I believe some does very effective energy saving, like sleep mode when no clients connected and so on.

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In addition
Authored by: Ilgaz on Oct 10, '07 12:27:24AM

I am one of the old fashioned guys who turns his computer off when not in use, if I won'T be around for 2-3 hours, I just make it sleep.

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so many issues here
Authored by: robogobo on Oct 12, '07 05:21:40AM

I smell two things- the putrid guilt of the nevers, and the even nastier holier-than-thou stench of the whenevers. Hey, do your thing, and leave the judgment to rot on the doorstep.

Yes, the internet should always be on. No, you shouldn't waste electricity. As for power cycling vs always-on, who knows? When I go around turning off all the lights in the house, my wife says "but they take more energy to turn on than to keep them running." "No, sweetheart, that's the car," I reply. Yet here in Switzerland, they kill the engine at red lights. I do it only for the train and traffic jams. Everybody knows.... nothing.

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Airport Express
Authored by: JaxMyers on Feb 07, '08 09:41:23AM

I measured the power consumption of my Airport Express with a Kill-A-Watt and it turns out that it only uses like 2 watts... that's pretty minimal. Still, I try to turn it off when I go to bed, but more importantly I try to turn off my laser printer (8 watts while sleeping), and my cable modem (another 8 watts).

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