Cisco goes green with software upgrade

Cisco is looking to reduce the energy consumption of network attached devices such as IP phones, laptops and access points.

Cisco Systems is looking to reduce the energy consumption of network attached devices such as IP phones, laptops and access points using a new architecture called EnergyWise, the company announced at its user conference in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Using EnergyWise, network administrators will be able to control PoE (Power over Ethernet) connected devices. So IP (Internet Protocol) phones or wireless access points can be turned off when they are not in use, for example, after work hours or on weekends.

Companies will also be able to keep track energy consumption -- including getting reports on energy savings -- using EnergyWise.

Support for EnergyWise in Cisco network equipment will be rolled out gradually. Catalyst 2960, 3560, 3560-E, 3750 and 3750-E Series Switches will be the first switches to get support for the feature -- via a software update that will become available in February.

Next up are the Catalyst 4500 and Catalyst 6500. A software update for those platforms will be available mid-2009 and during the second half of 2009, respectively, according to Cisco.

The feature is compatible with any PoE enabled device, but administrator options are limited to either turning it on or off. However, Cisco is also looking to implement the feature in end points, which will open the door for more sophisticated control mechanisms, including sleep modes.

During the third quarter, Cisco will add support for EnergyWise to PCs, laptops and printers, and by the end of the year support will also be added to its own access points and IP phones, according to Henrik Bergqvist, CTO at Cisco Sweden.

Early next year heating, ventilation and air conditioning, elevators and lights will also become part of what administrators can control. Cisco then envisions, for example, your IP phone, office light and computer to be turned on when enter the office and swipe your access card, according to Bergqvist.

Cisco has announced partnerships with Schneider Electric for building utility management, SolarWinds for network monitoring and Verdiem for monitoring PC power, according to a statement.

It has also completed its purchase of privately-owned Richards-Zeta Building Intelligence, which develops middleware for integrating building infrastructure and IT systems.

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