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The State of Cisco and Energy2020

- October 8, 2015 - 0 Comments

Chris KelleyBy Christopher Kelley, Lead Architect, Solution Services, Data & Analytics Group

Next week is the penultimate tech-fest of the year, in cable and broadband circles — the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ annual Cable-Tec Expo, happening in New Orleans. One topic we expect to be big involves the Energy2020 initiative, which aims to substantially reduce power consumption in all aspects of traditional and new cable infrastructure — essentially, from the side of the house, to the cloud / data centers.

Couple at a cafe- mobility

We’ll be there next week, talking sustainability and lots of other things, but we wanted to take a moment today to tell you about the work we’ve been doing on our cBR-8 converged broadband router. In fact, we just hosted a webinar on the topic this morning, with the SCTE! This blog can serve as a forum for the highlights, as that demo won’t be live yet.

What we demonstrated in the webcast is a module in our line of Cable SDN Applications (“software defined networks”) that will enable our service provider customers to realize as much as 15% power savings per cBR-8 line card.

In the demo, we essentially turned down or off any amplifiers and PHY components (downstream and upstream) that weren’t carrying traffic. The reasoning: When you’re stuck in a bad traffic jam, or sitting in the car wash, or sitting anywhere in your car, you save more power by turning it off than by letting it idle. Same kind of thing with our cBR-8 line cards.

We also showed how we added intelligence to the fans in the cBR-8 — a fan is a fan is a fan, unless it’s tricked out with ways to know how to adjust its speed, given current temperatures, and elevation. Air is denser at sea level, which means fans can run slower; the opposite is true at altitude. Ultimately, and depending on installation locale, smart fans offer up to a 3X power savings.

Lastly, we showed how our new ‘Supervisor Lite’ card for the cBR-8 saves up to 30% in power consumption, relative to the existing ‘Supervisor’ card. The use case: Not all operators need the full capacity that comes with the existing ‘Supervisors’, so, we pulled that back, which also pulled back the power draw. Good stuff!

If you didn’t see the webinar, we did all of this via the dashboard of the Cable SDN App, taking power consumption snapshots every 10 seconds. Each time we turned down an amp or a PHY component (again, either direction, up and down, and as long as it was idle), the watts consumed dropped. Then in 10 seconds, another drop, and another, and another — you get the idea.

We’re also working on a side-by-side comparison to show the difference in power consumed between IP-delivered video, and QAM-delivered video. We showed a bit of it today, with more to come. Sneak preview: IP-delivered video uses slightly less power, but so far we’re not seeing a whole lot of difference.

The realities, beyond the webcast: Some of what we demonstrated is still in the proof of concept stage — but we’re committed to sustainability, as a company and as an industry participant. Energy2020 is a big deal, we’re into it big time, and our work to economize our cBR-8 is but an early foray into the same kind of work across a much broader set of devices and infrastructure components, including facilities and data centers.

Follow the hashtags, #SCTEexpo & #IPChallenge on Twitter and tweet us @CiscoSPVideo if you have any questions or comments.

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