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In recent years, there has been intense focus on increasing the energy efficiency of IT infrastructure. We advocate the need to consider energy consumption holistically over the entire lifetime of these devices. Life cycle energy considerations include a number of factors, of which operational energy consumption is just one. Of all the IT components, networks have received relatively little attention when it comes to energy efficient operation, and even that has been too focused on operational power consumption. In this article, we describe the challenges relating to life cycle energy management of network devices, present a sustainability analysis of these devices, and develop techniques to significantly reduce network operational power. A distinguishing feature of our work is that it is applicable to legacy devices, and as such can be deployed now, as opposed to waiting for new standards and products to be developed.