5G networks face significant challenges31. May 2022
5G networks face significant challenges
Now that the acceptance of the Internet of Things is rapidly increasing , companies are clear about the orders of magnitude of computing and storage capacities to be able to realize 5 G, the point of energy generation – and consumption as part of a holistic network strategy must also be clarified.
It is not disputed that there is a direct connection here. In this respect, the company’s sustainability and carbon neutrality goals also play a role.
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New hardware is necessary. The latest radios, basebands and other network components from Ericsson are cited as an example, because they rely on silicon and reduce energy consumption by 30 percent compared to the industry standard.
Advances are also being made in rectifiers, which convert alternating current to direct current. Ericsson offers them with 98% efficiency.
If advanced RAN hardware is in place, intelligent software can ensure that responsible network components that are not needed for the moment are effectively turned off.
Once the network operator has gained comprehensive insight into its network, it can deploy AI with the aim of decisively reducing energy consumption as well as operating costs.
Example the following recently published 5G study :
Next point on hardware: diesel generators as well as lead-acid batteries are out. The network operator has to think about the use of renewable energy sources in the future. Depending on the location, this could be e.g. solar panels in combination with lithium-ion batteries.
The last point requires more comprehensive thinking. Namely, it involves thinking about the consequences of an increasingly networked society. In this case, the challenges are hackers and climate change. The network infrastructure of the future must therefore be highly secure. The problem has been recognized, but experts are still far from finding a solution.
Ericsson’s “Smart Connected Site” shows the direction it could take. It records the entire network and can thus be monitored remotely.
The next step is arguably the most important as it has the potential to propel CSPs into a new era of network design, construction and operation, but it challenges decades-old methodologies. Instead of diesel generators and lead-acid batteries, operators need to be thinking about site-specific renewable energy sources like solar panels connected up to lithium-ion batteries. Another important consideration is the resiliency of vital network infrastructure as the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent and increasingly threatening to infrastructure-dependent services.
Recall the trends around data demand, IoT, and distributed computing mentioned earlier in this article. If you believe in the continuing growth of a smart, connected society, there must be a concurrent growth in energy production. In the context of more tightly integrating energy production with mobile networks, there are larger, complementary interdependencies to be realized if you consider scaling from one site to many. This also aligns with the evolution of the utilities sector in terms of the need for added resiliency, sourcing sovereignty, renewable microgrids offsetting peak demand load, and other factors.
“This is something we continue to invest in,” Jansson said. “The Ericsson Smart Connected Site ties the radios and processors tightly together with the power, energy, and climate systems and you can monitor all of it remotely. This awareness makes it possible for the operator to make decisions to help lower the network power consumption while increasing the network robustness.”