Did You Know is an ongoing series featuring little known nuggets of information behind Cisco's businesses, employees and the technologies they build. #discovercisco
So, what is this room? No, Cisco has not gone into the music recording business (however fun that might be); this is Cisco's Acoustic Hemi-Anechoic Chamber. It not only makes for a super cool photo - what it does is pretty amazing.
The Acoustic Hemi-Anechoic Chamber is the only one of its kind, built in direct response to customers wanting to create a better work environment for their employees. The chamber is designed to reduce ambient noise – in a sense; it takes away ALL SOUND in order to collect accurate acoustic measurements on products like Cisco's CRS and NEXUS 9000 switches.
As more and more digital content, like video and movies, flow across the Internet, more processing power is needed to successfully deliver media rich content to our devices. Internal fans are needed to cool down the machines that allow video and movies to process seamlessly. The more high-powered the processor, the more it needs to be cooled…and that can get pretty noisy. When you have a room full of routers and switches, a lot of fans are running at once.
With the acoustic chamber, thermal engineers, designers and acoustic engineers can work together, early in a product's development cycle, to strike a balance between power and sound in order to meet customer needs as well as government safety requirements.
An inner and outer wall surrounds the chamber with 12 inches of foam and dead air separating the chamber from the outside world. Everything in this room is designed to reduce ambient noise, with specialized floor to ceiling foam and spring mounted floors.
To give you an idea of just how quiet the chamber is when it stands alone, a regular office cubical setting is about 50 decibels, a small office with the door closed is about 30 decibels, the acoustic chamber, without any equipment inside, usually reads about 17 decibels. Evenso, when we tested it, our sound meter could not even get a reading. It was THAT quiet.