With their energy consumption and costs soaring to record levels, cable operators are searching far and wide for ways to cut their power and cooling usage.
And for good reason. The cable industry now spends about $1 billion a year globally on energy use, according to the latest estimates from the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) , with that total rising sharply each year. Indeed, SCTE/ISBE forecasts that the industry's annual energy spend could climb as high as $4 billion worldwide by 2021 if current trends continue over the next four years.
Not too surprisingly, access network power supplies and edge facilities account for the lion's share of that soaring energy consumption. As SCTE/ISBE has found in its research, these two sources combine to account for as much as 83% of the industry's current energy consumption, far more than any other source.
That's why cable technologists are now focusing many of their energy conservation efforts on the industry's access network and edge facilities. They are seeking ways to reduce the enormous power and cooling costs associated with operating cable headends, fiber trunks, optical nodes and other network equipment, and running coaxial cable last-mile links all the way to homes and businesses.
As part of these efforts, cable technologists are exploring various distributed access architecture (DAA) approaches to shift at least some of the equipment and functions out of the cable headend or hub and deeper into the access network. By adopting a DAA strategy, they aim to greatly reduce power and cooling costs, while also cutting their headend and hub space requirements, trimming their other operating expenses and providing greater bandwidth capacity as the traffic loads on their HFC networks continue to grow. (See The Cable DAA Vendor Race Begins and Cable's DAA Moment Is Here.)
In some early trials and pilot deployments, cable operators and vendors are achieving impressive results, cutting space and power usage by 75% or more, according to Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), one of the vendors involved. Other vendors, such as Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), have reported similarly promising results with DAA deployments so far.
Light Reading and SCTE/ISBE will delve into this subject with a jointly presented webinar entitled "Cutting Energy Use with Distributed Access Architecture," on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET. Sponsored by Harmonic and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), the one-hour session will focus on how cable operators can use different DAA approaches to reduce their power and cooling costs.
To sign up for the webinar, please click here.
In the meantime, check out the following four video interviews for more information about the energy-saving and other benefits of virtualizing the cable architecture, as well as SCTE/ISBE's Energy 2020 Program. Here are the links to those interviews:
- The Power of Virtualization
- Putting Power on a Pedestal
- The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game
- Clearing the Air on Cooling
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading