5G and beyond, power is as important as RAN, core and transport ৷

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Hardware, software and site energy solutions combined can make 5G more sustainable

For communication service providers, the demand for mobile and fixed wireless data is clear. The adoption trajectory for the Internet of Things is equally clear. To fully realize (and monetize) the level of storage capacity required for distributed computers and 5G, and again, the industry has seen well what is coming. And while these strategic technology discussions are taking place sincerely at the conference stage and inside the boardroom, there is another key part of an overall network strategy – power generation and utilization.

There is a direct link between the demand for network power consumption and the goals of corporate sustainability and carbon neutrality. However, there is a disconnect between carbon offset purchasing and long-term decision making about energy source diversification through energy-smart operations and renewable investments. By testing today and planning for tomorrow, operators can achieve business and sustainability goals through rigorous integration of energy and network infrastructure and potentially, and ultimately, transform an instance where energy cores, RANs and transportation sit side by side as a leverable network domain. By .

Before digging into how this can be done, first consider when to start this kind of holistic approach that includes power generation and network infrastructure. The most effective way to do this would be to combine it with a network overhaul, which is expensive when it comes to setting up new 5G spectrum or upgrading macro-level infrastructure, so make the most of it. That said, an equivalent power / network upgrade is a complex proposition, but an important one.

“Do as much as you can while on site,” Patrick Johnson, director of Ericsson North America’s mobile network site solutions, explained in an interview with RCR Wireless News. “It simply came to our notice then. If you consider the power segment, we are not talking about small boxes that you can click on. It is the most important component of each site with large infrastructure and heavy equipment and power plants Without a strong power system, radio and processors are not considered good. ”

Over time, Johnson talked about the steps that CSPs can take today to build an interconnected network and power generation / utilization. First, the new equipment. Using Ericsson’s latest radio, baseband and other network components Ericsson silicone Which reduces energy Uses in the range of 30 percent compared to industrial benchmarks. In place of modern RAN hardware, the second step is layering smart software that effectively allows different network components to sleep when they are not needed. An operator’s perception of his total network power performance (including each site) combined with artificial intelligence can enable him to dynamically reduce energy costs and, subsequently, operational costs. To understand what it looks like in practice, Read how Ericsson and Vodafone UK halved energy consumption in 5G trials.

The third step, after hardware and software upgrades, focuses on site power components, including power plants and batteries. Power rectifiers that convert AC to DC power, for example, are becoming more efficient. Johnson said Ericsson has started using power rectifiers that operate at 98% efficiency, meaning only 2% of the energy coming to the site is dissipated as heat; This in itself fits in with site design, dimensioning and engineering because less heat is generated which means climate control equipment can run more efficiently. “Create your equipment configuration to be the most energy efficient,” he said.

The next step is arguably the most important because it has the potential to drive CSP into a new era of network design, construction, and operation, but it challenges the decades-old approach. Instead of diesel generators and lead-acid batteries, operators need to think about site-specific renewable energy sources, such as solar panels attached to lithium-ion batteries. Another important consideration is the resilience of vital network infrastructure as the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent and pose a growing threat to infrastructure-dependent services.

Note the trends about data demand, IoT, and distributed computing mentioned earlier in this article. If you believe in the continued growth of a smart, connected society, there must be a contemporary increase in energy production. In the context of further integrating power generation with mobile networks, you need to realize greater, complementary interdependence if you consider scaling from one site to many. This aligns with the evolution of the utility sector in the need for additional resilience, sourcing sovereignty, renewable microgrid offsetting peak demand load and other factors.

“It’s something we keep investing in,” Johnson said. “The Ericsson Smart Connected site connects radios and processors tightly to the power, energy and climate systems and you can monitor it from a distance. This awareness makes it possible for operators to make decisions that will help reduce network power costs as the network grows stronger. “

Learn more from Ericsson Here.

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