Comcast Tests ‘Turning the Knob’ on CCAPs

DENVER — Comcast’s downtown Denver lab is spinning up a proof of concept (PoC) involving the Energy 2020 “APSIS” initiative, which aims to give operators a way to “turn the knob” on energy used by critical network components — in this case, CCAP (converged cable access platform) devices.

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“APSIS” stands for Adaptive Power System Interface Specification. It matters because it ultimately addresses the biggest part, by far, of any operator’s electricity bill: The physical infrastructure, from the side of the home to headends and data centers, which represents up to 75% of what’s spent on power.

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The APSIS news came out of the Energy 2020 program, which launched at the 2014 Cable-Tec Expo, and met earlier this week. Tracy Baumgartner, executive director of sustainability for Comcast (and yes, she’s married to Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner), noted during her update that “just a few blocks away from here, we are in the midst of a PoC on an APSIS program, specifically with a CCAP device … because we’re looking to prove that we can adjust energy usage with software.”

If everything works out as intended, the APSIS PoC will prove that service flows on a CCAP device can be measured, and, as a consequence, those flows can be programmatically activated and deactivated in the lab.

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“It also includes a web app … which makes APSIS more visual and approachable, because it shows how energy can be controlled, and it shows the reduction in energy usage,” Baumgartner said. “It demonstrates how this is really all about just turning the knob,” to turn down electricity consumption on certain components — like CCAP, to start — when the network isn’t actively being used.