Scaling up 5G deployments while reducing network energy consumption? It’s possible!


5G is here, and with the expansion of connectivity comes the challenge of deploying and operating networks that prioritize both performance and reduced energy use.

In the past, each generation of mobile broadband has come with a steep increase in energy use due to the deployment of new frequency bands and equipment. But now, through a combination of more renewables in the energy mix, as well as deliberate, energy-efficient network rollouts that leverage new technology, providers can break” this energy curve and make meaningful progress towards achieving their climate goals.

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector is a key enabler for accelerated climate action and has the potential to enable up-to 15 percent reduction in global greenhouse emissions, supporting the decarbonization of key economic sectors like energy production, manufacturing and transportation. According to Ericsson’s research in the latest Breaking the Energy Curve report, mobile networks represent about 0.2 percent of global carbon emissions and 0.6 precent of global electricity use. However, this number will grow if network deployments aren’t managed carefully and sustainably.

As we head into the future, communication service providers (CSPs) are facing increased pressure to break the energy curve and meet sustainability goals. With a holistic approach that looks at network deployment from every angle, it’s possible to scale up 5G while reducing total network energy consumption. Ericsson’s Breaking the Energy Curve report outlines the company’s approach to helping CSPs reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions during network deployments.

There are three elements in Ericsson’s approach to break the increasing energy consumption curve of mobile networks:

  • Enable sustainable network evolution
  • Expand and modernize
  • Operate site infrastructure intelligently

Sustainable network evolution

A holistic view of company targets and network realities allows for network planning and operation-supporting business and sustainability initiatives.
Expand the focus on network performance to include user experience and its correlation towards energy consumption in order to optimize RAN energy efficiency.
Network planning should encompass all aspects of core, transport and radio access equipment, as well as site equipment – including power systems and energy sources.
Categorize sites into three traffic segments to identify the most valuable sites and ensure they operate with efficient network equipment.

Expand and modernize

Effective modernization of existing networks is essential when scaling 5G to reduce the mobile network total energy consumption.
With the new generation of multi-band radios, we can add frequency bands while reducing the amount of radio units and energy consumption.
With modernized equipment like the AIR 3268, adding 5G Massive MIMO on mid-band does not need to increase energy consumption.
Automated, optimized networks across fewer sites lower the environmental impact and cost less to run.

Operate intelligently

Leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation for maximized traffic performance of deployed hardware with minimized energy use.
To maximize the power of automation, we must capture data and digitalize the complete site ecosystem enabling intelligent measurement and control.
Ericsson’s predictive RAN solutions can automatically apply energy-saving actions like cell locking and deep sleep activation based on utilization trends.
ML algorithms help increase utilization of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries or renewable energy sources instead of relying on grid or fuel-based energy sources.

In addition to providing a roadmap for network decarbonization, Ericsson has set ambitious climate goals, aiming to reach Net Zero emissions across company operations by 2030 and 2040 for the entire value chain. Read the latest ‘Breaking the Energy Curve‘ report to learn more about how CSPs can reduce energy consumption and meet sustainability goals while deploying the latest 5G networks.

This story is sponsored by Ericsson.

Image credit: Ericsson

This story is sponsored by Ericsson.

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