miércoles, septiembre 28, 2022
InicioHealthAssessing the Actual-World Environmental Influence of Routers

Assessing the Actual-World Environmental Influence of Routers


Energy claims for networking gear are sometimes obscure. It’s not at all times clear whether or not chip, card, or system energy is being acknowledged and what circumstances have been used for the analysis. If we’re going to pursue extra energy-efficient routers and switches, we have to perceive what that actually means.

Let’s take a step again and think about a greater manner of protecting rating. For my part – and hopefully quickly yours too – these are the day-to-day system energy consumption and the provisioned energy (quantity and capability of PSUs to assist redundancy and worst-case circumstances). This put up will concentrate on exploring the elements of system-level energy consumption. Future posts will examine energy provisioning and establishing a take a look at atmosphere to standardize energy analysis.

Let’s begin by defining a unit for the metric. I suggest “watts per 100G with out optics” based mostly on system energy consumption. It represents a standard unit of bandwidth and (for high-end routers) at present yields numbers within the 1-50W vary that the majority of us are snug with. Optics ought to be subtracted as a result of they’re extremely variable based mostly on module sort (e.g., 400G ZR+ is twice the facility of FR4). As optics could impression cooling necessities, a extra particular definition of “Watts per 100G at typical temperature with 2km optics minus optics module energy” is an effective benchmark. Variations on this, equivalent to ZR+ optics or fewer playing cards or ports, can also be outlined for operator-specific comparisons.

System energy

System energy consumption is the important thing metric to concentrate on. Chip energy is an fascinating strategy to examine gadgets, however it’s not related in terms of paying the facility invoice or assessing environmental impression. Let’s have a look at what makes up system energy by reviewing the next key elements:

  • Electrical information path
  • Optics
  • Cooling
  • Mechanical design
  • Management aircraft
  • Losses in voltage conversion and signaling

Electrical information path

The important thing elements of {the electrical} information path energy comprise PHYs, retimers, and forwarding ASICs. PHYs are small gadgets used for capabilities equivalent to MACsec or as gearboxes which mix Serializer/Deserializers (SerDes, used for quick I/O by PCBs) or break up them into completely different speeds. A typical gearbox operation is to transform 2x 56G SerDes from the ASIC to 4x 28G SerDes related to a QSFP28 100 GbE port. Retimers are used to increase electrical indicators. Retimers are generally used for lengthy traces equivalent to connecting optics to ASICs within the “again row” of a line card.

Energy-wise, ASICs are the celebrities of the present, so it’s comprehensible that they get many of the consideration. They’re essentially the most advanced elements and are the important thing driver of system energy for big, modular techniques just like the Cisco 8800. ASIC energy may be damaged into three primary classes: SerDes, idle core energy, and dynamic core energy. In high-bandwidth chips just like the Cisco Silicon One Q200, these are roughly equal. I’ll be specializing in this class of chips on this weblog. It contains gadgets equivalent to Broadcom’s Jericho 2 (in NCS 5500) and Trident/Tomahawk (NCS 5000). Edge-class chips equivalent to Cisco’s Lightspeed Plus have comparable traits however eat extra energy in advanced per-packet operations (e.g., extra counters) and fewer in SerDes on account of decrease bandwidth.

Every of those classes has completely different traits of energy consumption. SerDes require fixed energy unbiased of site visitors load, however they are often powered down to avoid wasting energy. On the 8000 Collection, this happens when ports are shut down or when a material or line card slot is empty. Within the latter case, the corresponding SerDes on the connecting card are shut down (e.g., some Cloth Card (FC) SerDes are disabled when Line Card (LC) slots are empty).

ASIC idle energy is strictly what it feels like. It’s the facility required to maintain the chip’s inside blocks up and working with no site visitors load. Dynamic energy happens when packets are forwarded. Some dynamic energy is consumed for per-packet operations (pps load) and a few is required for transferring the bandwidth alongside the forwarding path (bps load).

Core (non-SerDes) ASIC energy will range vastly amongst gadgets as networking ASICs serve many roles with quite a lot of necessities. Core ASIC energy could range based mostly on a number of components:

  • Operate – DC vs. SP Edge vs. SP Core carry out completely different ranges of per-packet operations
  • Community vs. cloth capability – ASIC interfaces that solely can connect with a change cloth are a lot less complicated and decrease energy
  • Course of node (7nm is the present era, 16nm and 28nm have been the earlier TSMC nodes)
  • Design – Newer microarchitectures are likely to have higher effectivity than chips carrying legacy constraints. The ability of the design engineers can also be vital and exhibits up within the energy backside line.
  • Machine temperature – A sizzling ASIC has marginally increased energy.
  • Load – The variety of transistors flipping at a given time (primarily a operate of pps and bandwidth, but in addition of the design’s capacity to gate unused logic)

Most legacy SP ASIC designs have been optimized for big modular techniques with change materials. This method resulted in a few of the ASIC I/O (cloth requires speedup so often a bit greater than 50% to account for overhead) being laborious coded for material operations. This vastly simplifies the design relative to chips that may dedicate their full bandwidth to the community. The logic for material lookups is dramatically less complicated than community operations and, thus, requires much less silicon actual property and energy.

The draw back of fabric-bound I/O exhibits up when utilized in single-chip techniques. The material bandwidth is misplaced and can’t be redirected to the community. This may be offset through the use of two chips back-to-back with a point-to-point “cloth”, however that’s nonetheless much less environment friendly than a single chip that may join all its bandwidth to the community. When two ASICs are required, the chip energy is doubled. If extra chips and a change cloth are required for small (2-3 RU) techniques, the facility goes even increased.


Optics are the divas of router {hardware}. They eat vital energy, present a small footprint for warmth sinks, and their max temperature is 50C cooler than ASICs. The thermal administration of optical modules was one of the vital tough challenges for the preliminary mechanical design of 400G-class techniques – after which ZR+ modules doubled the requirement from 11W (DR4/FR4) to 22W (ZR+).

Optical module energy is comparatively constant for every attain (e.g., LR8 or FR4) amongst distributors. The system energy to chill the modules varies. For instance, it could be tougher to chill a QSFP-DD module in a conventional chassis with vertical airflow (i.e., every module preheats air for the one above it) than a more recent orthogonal chassis (direct chilly air to all modules). The QSFP-DD and OSFP designs additionally impression energy required for cooling. Each can assist excessive energy optics, however the QSFP-DD design permits for ongoing warmth sink innovation custom-made to the chassis. This leads to much less airflow wanted to chill the modules and thus decrease system energy than OSFP which is locked in a standardized warmth sink design that restricted innovation.


Routers are air-cooled; followers push or pull air by the chassis. The airflow path is vital as every element heats the air for downstream gadgets inside the chassis. Fan energy is very variable amongst techniques and completely different working circumstances. On the 8800 Collection’ largest chassis (the 8818) the 40 followers can eat from 600 to 6400W. This nice vary is as a result of nature of fan energy consumption. It’s roughly cubic with the air moved. When fan speeds get into the 80-100% vary, their energy goes up dramatically so care ought to be taken to reduce the necessity for high-speed fan operation by solely setting the followers to the utmost velocity when completely required.

Mechanical design

Cooling isn’t the one side of mechanical design. Different choices embody the cardboard top, quantity and measurement of followers, board layouts, warmth sinks, and extra. For instance, small variations in line card top can impression the scale of warmth sinks and the way constricted the airflow is. These each have an effect on chip temperatures and fan energy.

Management aircraft

The management aircraft contains CPUs, DRAMs, SSDs, inside ethernet switches, and small elements equivalent to consoles and administration ethernet. CPU energy is comparatively low in comparison with ASICs. The opposite management aircraft elements don’t eat vital energy.

Losses in voltage conversion and signaling

The seen elements aren’t the one customers of energy. 5 to 10% of complete energy is misplaced when the facility provides convert the power voltage (e.g., 48V DC or 220V AC) to the system voltage (e.g., 12V or 54V DC). Additional energy is misplaced because the system voltage is transformed to the degrees utilized by the electronics (e.g., 3.3V for optics). Energy can also be misplaced to the resistance of the PCBs as indicators transfer from machine to machine.

Prior to now, these components may very well be ignored by customers, however as energy consumption turns into extra important, they shouldn’t be any longer. The 8000 Collection contains many “behind the scenes” optimizations in these areas equivalent to new energy provides and extra environment friendly inside energy distribution.

Metrics for the Cisco 8000 Collection

Initially of this paper, the metric of watts per 100G with out optics was proposed. Let’s conclude by these values for some particular configurations. The information beneath is examined at 22C with 768B packets, 15% bandwidth, and with out optics.


A lot is manufactured from chip-level energy effectivity, however that’s not the final word aim – merely a method to an finish. Operators shouldn’t care if energy is used to flip transistors or spin followers. They simply need the system to be environment friendly. Evaluating techniques ought to embody benchmarks that may be standardized in addition to network-specific configurations which can embody a number of generations of {hardware}, {a partially} stuffed chassis, or completely different site visitors hundreds.

Within the 8000 Collection information sheets, the everyday energy is outlined by a completely loaded system at 25C with 15% of max bandwidth and 768B packets with out optics. For the 8800 Collection, the Q200-based 8800-LC0-36FH is used as the road card together with the newest change cloth out there for the chassis.

Different Cisco IOS XR platforms use increased site visitors ranges for his or her “typical” case in Cisco Energy Calculator and bundle LR4 optics on all ports. We made the modifications for the 8000 Collection to higher mirror on a regular basis site visitors patterns reported by our clients and from information we collected from manufacturing networks. If we elevated the site visitors load to 512B and 50% max bandwidth, energy can be about 10% increased.

This may occasionally not signify your community or RFP benchmark, so for the 8800 Collection we’ve developed fashions based mostly on intensive lab testing that may present correct estimates for any mixture of line playing cards, sort and variety of cloth playing cards, packet measurement, bandwidth, optics, and temperature.

In abstract, the important thing metric for energy consumption is system energy in your typical circumstances. When router procuring, ask distributors for system-level information that meets your actual necessities and for particulars on how they have been examined or calculated. Ensure to additionally look intently at timelines for qualification and ramp to deployment so that you just consider techniques out there in the identical era and don’t examine deployable {hardware} with press releases alone.

Be taught extra

At Cisco, we consider an inclusive future for all should take everybody under consideration, together with future generations. That’s why we’re setting long-term, actionable objectives to handle the environmental impacts of our merchandise and operations. As a part of this effort, we’re centered on rising power effectivity and lowering emissions. Our sustainability initiatives embody greater than 440 power effectivity tasks previously 5 years, and there are a lot extra to come back. We encourage you to spend a couple of minutes reviewing our journey towards a sustainable, inclusive future to grasp what this implies for you and your group.






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