Cisco: Silicon One, an ultra-fast chip for a sustainable world


With Cisco technologies, networks are simpler, more powerful and less energy intensive.

With its high speeds, extended bandwidth and ultra-low latency, from Cisco The Silicon One chip ushered in a new era in networking. And everyone from hyperscalers to small businesses can expect new capabilities and scalable infrastructure.

But that’s only part of the story. Especially when combined with from Cisco From the Acacia perspective, Silicon One’s biggest impact may be on sustainability, with broad implications for energy savings, unconnected communities and the planet itself.

To learn more about Silicon One, we spoke with Adam machale, vice president of service provider EMEAR for Cisco, and a passionate advocate for sustainability.

Q. Thank you, Adam! First off, maybe you could share some thoughts on how sustainability fits into from Cisco overall goal of leading an inclusive future for all.

A. There has been a real change in tone and level of engagement, and it’s fantastic to see. Sustainability is now one of the top three topics of every conversation within our organization. It’s in the way we engage with customers, in all product conversations, and in our approach to hybrid work and back to the office. It’s in how we embed circular economy principles into all of our products and how we embed them into our supply chains.

Q. Why is Silicon One a game-changer?

A. If you take the example of service providers, in some cases telecom operators account for 2-3% of a country’s energy consumption. They build their businesses around the network. And Silicon One is at the heart of the machines that can move that forward in a much more sustainable and efficient way, especially when combined with the investments we’ve made in Acacia and optics to simplify the way we build. these networks. It can have a dramatic impact. For example, Swisscom estimates that it can achieve an energy saving of 40 percent by converging to Cisco Infrastructure.

In terms of performance, if you consider the growth of internet traffic, various numbers are cited, between 25% CAGR and up to 50% in 2020. So it has been difficult to keep pace without overloading silicon. But what’s amazing about Silicon One is the performance we can get from this chipset and the simplification we can get within those platforms.

Now we can actually build the silicon ahead of the growth curve, effectively doubling the performance at half the power. If you can have half the power consumption of a telecom company, for example, or better yet, of our entire IP infrastructure, that changes things dramatically.

Q. And how does Silicon One affect the Internet economy?

A. If you take the example of sub-Saharan Africa, some parts of rural infrastructure depend on diesel generators. So, if we can make these grids much more energy efficient, the shift to more sustainable and less expensive energy sources becomes viable. In addition, by reducing the cost of the infrastructure providing these services, we can consider connecting the unconnected. The impact on the local economy, healthcare, education and well-being can be enormous.

Q. Combined with from Cisco Acacia Optic, Silicon One enables a new paradigm, routed optical networking. Apart from its great capabilities, what are the implications for sustainability?

A. Traditionally, networks are built on layers. You would have the fiber layer, an optical layer, and you would have the routing layer on top. Thus, on each of these sites, you would have two or three boxes consuming energy. And we should take care of them, manage them.

What we’re doing with new technologies like Acacia optics, which are small and pluggable into a router, is you can put it all together in one box. You immediately simplify the network and reduce enclosures, reducing power. Then you lower the price because you don’t need all that large infrastructure within those platforms. It is therefore another way of transforming networks, in all simplicity. And adding automation to run them more efficiently. If there is high demand, it can activate more capacity; if there is low demand, turn off part of the infrastructure.

Q. This simplicity translates into a kind of democracy, doesn’t it? By facilitating the deployment and use of technology.

A. To connect the unconnected, you need the skills to be able to deploy the technology and then keep running it. Through Cisco Networking Academy, we make these skills available to everyone. And by simplifying with automation and changing the price, the more it becomes accessible to everyone.

Q. How does the smallest size of these components impact supply chains or recycling?

A. It definitely affects the shipping supply chain and the energy used to ship these products around the world. But there are also fewer components, more recyclable materials and less energy used to build them. And with a simpler, modular approach to building the network, we can reuse parts of that infrastructure elsewhere when we need to upgrade, where they can still be of tremendous value. The more reusable and modular they are, the more likely we are to increase the lifespan and usability of these boxes, which from a sustainability and circular economy perspective becomes really important.

Q. What do you see for the future and how Cisco continue to help support sustainability?

A. I would like us to move much faster in adopting these technologies. If you think about the history of the pandemic and how quickly governments and people have changed the way they do things, who would have thought we could have acted so quickly? We did things in the space of a few weeks that would have taken years before. So I think we need to build on that and be a lot bolder in how we seek to connect the unconnected, foster sustainability, and transform infrastructure.

I believe we need to transform the way we behave with our planet. It is such a precious thing, and we have to be very careful how we take care of it. But in the world we live in, we also need to show the business benefits to get that adoption faster and accelerate transformation. It must make sense on both sides. This is what we try to do at Cisco.


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