Deploying eco-friendly solutions makes sense in almost any market. After all, going green not only protects the environment, it is also a proven way for service providers (SPs) to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, minimize operating expenses.
With these objectives in mind, Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) has spent decades creating ecologically-friendly, energy-efficient telecom innovations that help service providers respond to being good stewards of the environment and evolving market demands.
The Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) Service Router (SR) portfolio stands as a model for the company's power-conserving focus, saving energy on the component level, the platform or system level, and the network level. These benefits were recently detailed in an ALU-sponsored white paper, "Green Routing Innovations in Service Router Power Efficiency," which highlights the energy-saving features associated with each level of service edge routing solutions.
The two biggest consumers of energy on the component level are silicon chips and optical/transceiver components. As such, ALU and its Bell Labs (News - Alert) research wing have devoted a great amount of time and resources on these. The result has been several market-leading technologies.
For example, ALU’s silicon-based FP network processor is one of its key products that helps enable energy-efficient, cost-effective service routing. ALU broke major speed, service scale and functionality milestones with its first- and second-generation FP processors – introduced in 2003 and 2007, respectively – but it is its latest FP3 processor that is really turning heads.
Launched earlier this year, the FP3 is more than 50 times as powerful as the original F3 processor in terms of raw compute performance. The new silicon chip is also 40 times as fast as the F1 and consumes 85 percent less energy.
ALU credits the efficiency gains to a more sophisticated chip design, more advanced silicon technology and more densely packed transistors. The FP3 is the world's first 400G network processor.
"A significant development milestone that will serve as a foundation upon which service router product development will be based for the next 5+ years, the FP3 network processor chip set targets operator requirements for scaling differentiated services with more dense and cost effective infrastructure, thereby supporting Alcatel-Lucent’s applications enablement and high leverage networks strategy and positioning," says David Dunphy, author and managing partner of Telecom Strategy Partners.
Another key reason for Alcatel-Lucent's market-leading service routing technologies is its optical networking components. As the creator of the first router with Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) optical transceivers, Alcatel-Lucent has been a leader in this space for years. In addition, unique optical innovations also include ALU’s Wavelength Tracker technology, which dynamically monitors and equalizes DWDM optical output levels, and its 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GigE) and 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GigE) service router interfaces.
The key to ensuring energy efficiency at the system level is to keep the components as cool as possible. Doing so demands efficient chassis power and cooling subsystems – areas where ALU also specializes.
The SR portfolio contains cooling fans that use less power and make less noise than competing solutions – all while improving cooling capacity significantly. The latest 7750 SR-12 enhanced fans, introduced in 2010, are as much as 42 percent more efficient than the 2007 models and can move twice as much air. The product’s fan controllers are designed to balance cooling levels, power consumption, and sound levels to keep the electronics cool and not consume unnecessary energy in the cooling subsystem with little efficiency gain.
The SR portfolio is highlighted on the network level by the Multiservice Integrated Service Adapter (MS-ISA). This is the foundation for adding hardware-accelerated service intelligence. MS-ISAs, which support services including application assurance, IPv6 transition as well as security and video, consume less energy than a standalone appliance-based solution.
The other chief benefit that Alcatel delivers on the network side is a converged IP services edge, which improves energy efficiency, lowers operating expenses and accelerates delivery. A converged IP services edge rejects the old methodology of building independent service networks for each service. Instead, service providers can transition to IP and converge all their service networks onto a singular platform.
ALU also likes to point out that since its introduction, the SR portfolio has supported legacy interfaces to allow the transition of existing access networks to a modern service edge platform and, further, to save power by allowing the legacy service edge to be decommissioned.
The message here is clear. Based on the decades of efforts to help SPs reduce their carbon foot prints through energy conservation which also decreases operating costs, and does so without compromising performance, ALU high leverage networks enable SPs to do well by doing good.
Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Peter Bernstein