Aurora Networks has created a checklist with five must-have components for green optical networks:
- Elimination of RF actives – Cable network architectures that eliminate the need for RF amplifiers in the coaxial plant by pushing fiber deeper realize more than a 70 percent reduction in the number of active devices in the distribution portion of the network. This results in more than a 50 percent drop in power consumption and a significant reduction in maintenance requirements, including truck rolls. Fiber is hundreds of times lower in signal attenuation than coax, so replacing coax with fiber enables a significantly more efficient network to be built.
- Cut in operating costs – Building a network with fewer active components greatly decreases overall costs in equipment installation and proactive network maintenance. A network architecture with fewer active components can streamline maintenance requirements and accrue additional green benefits, including lower gas consumption and exhaust emissions that result from fewer truck rolls.
- Reduction in the number of homes served per node – Traditional HFC architectures typically serve from 500 to 2,000 homes. Operators can reduce the number of homes served per node for greater network granularity. This not only increases bandwidth per subscriber, but also reduces the number of actives in a network, dramatically increasing network reliability and associated service availability. Ultimately, this results in fewer potential failure points between the headend and the customer, and an outage will affect fewer subscribers.
- Future-proof technology – Digitized return technology supports the transport of legacy upstream services and DOCSIS 3.0 without distance limitations to ensure that any green network upgrades also contain the components for a future-proof network.
- Element management system – With increasing subscriber reliance on higher-revenue services, high network availability is critical, and hence operators need to minimize any network downtime. With the latest advances in digital return technology, element management can now be achieved without the need for high-cost transponders, headend and hub hardware, and expensive software.
Aurora said that incorporating these five components into a green network upgrade can achieve significant cost savings.
According to the IEEE’s Energy Efficient Ethernet Committee, telecommunications network equipment alone accounts for 1 percent of all power consumption in the U.S., Aurora said. And research from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) estimates that the global information and communications technology industry accounts for about 3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
“The cable industry has various thoughts on how to implement a successful green strategy, but many would agree that the two most important elements of success come with reducing our environmental impact, while at the same time reducing costs to the operator,” said John Dahlquist, vice president of marketing for Aurora. “As Aurora Networks continues to work with many operators around the globe to implement green solutions, we see an opportunity to share our field knowledge so that the entire industry can benefit.”
For more on going green, see “‘Green’ catching momentum”  from CED’s August 2009 issue.