Cisco Greening Routers

“A free upgrade to the vendor’s IOS operating system being announced today will let some of Cisco’s enterprise routers handle power management. In the most ambitious cases, the router will team up with facilities-maintenance software to turn down lights on the weekends or move office laptops into battery mode.”…Lightreading .com

Cisco just announced its new IOS software that helps to reduce energy “waste” during weekend by fully or partially turning off its router equipments. It is an important movement that Cisco makes since according to some recent research IP routers are the most power-consuming equipments in the telecommunication networks, and power consumption could become a bottleneck for router capacity further upgrade. 

It was said that the software can work in most of Cisco routers, but the greening targets are those low-end routers due to its large numbers, thereby saving more energy, as well as few connected user groups (it is possible to turn them down fully at weekend). It seems not practical to turn down a core router due to its large amount of transit data traffic. Remember we still surf Internet at home at weekend which needs core routers to be on all the time.   

As an alternative greening solution, it is more practical to slow down a core router in its routing speed when traffic intensity becomes low. For example, a regional router may have low data traffic from mid-night to early morning. To realize this, information on the traffic intensity distribution at different time slots is required and the techniques that can automatically turn down and speed up a router speed is also required.

Interestingly, with the annoucement of new router turning down capability, some people raises an important concern regarding security issues. Would the new software capability prvide a new hacking channel for a hacker to fully control a router and even to disable an entire network by maliciously turning off some controlled routers? This security issue should be carefully evaluated before the new software capability is widely upgraded. 

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