Pioneering energy-efficient mobile networks for a net zero future

In a world grappling with the significant challenge of climate change, the telecommunication sector emerges as a pivotal player in the quest for sustainability. Today, 5G Americas, the voice of 5G and beyond in the Americas, has released a white paper titled ‘Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Mobile Communications Networks’ which offers an in-depth analysis of the key strategies and technologies essential for energy-efficient operation of mobile networks.

Dan Druta, Lead member of Technical Staff, AT&T, and working group co-leader of the white paper stated, “Innovation is required for the telecommunications industry to address sustainability and energy efficiency challenges. Many network operators are aiming for Net Zero emissions through energy-efficient operations and renewable energy integration. The actions of companies working together collaboratively are critical to address the impacts of climate change and strengthen the resilience of our communities and industry.”

With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on the 1.2°C global temperature rise serving as an urgent call to action, the ICT sector must aim for a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This 5G Americas white paper outlines key strategies and technologies that could have a sizable impact on our planet and society, marking a pivotal step in our journey towards a sustainable future. 

Daniela Laselva, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Nokia, and working group co-leader of the white paper said “MNOs and vendor partners are aggressively targeting sustainability, focusing on reducing carbon footprints and optimizing energy consumption, especially for 5G networks. Innovations in dynamic energy-saving techniques, cloud-native frameworks, and diverse network deployment strategies are crucial in this endeavor.”

The paper emphasizes the crucial balance of environmental, social, and economic factors in the telecommunications sector. It advocates for separating data growth from energy usage, bridging the digital divide for widespread internet access, and managing the economic aspects of network energy costs. It also delves into strategies like advanced RAN techniques, network slicing, virtualization, and application layer optimizations, alongside exploring site solutions for renewable energy integration.

Key topics covered in this latest 5G Americas white paper also include:

  • Technologies driving energy efficiency in the RAN (Techniques in time domain, frequency domain, spatial domain, power domain and role of AI/ML as a key enabler in sustainability)
  • System architecture solutions for energy efficiency
  • Deployment and architecture strategies for network energy saving
  • Applications and services energy efficiency techniques
  • Site solutions based on renewable energy.

Humberto LaRoche, Principal Engineer, Cisco and working group leader said “The paper underscores the importance of energy efficiency in 5G and future mobile generations, urging operators and vendors to adopt existing technical capabilities and invest in new, optimized technologies. This approach is key not only for sustainable network operations but also in enabling industries like manufacturing and agriculture to achieve greater energy efficiency through various IoT solutions.”

Additionally, 5G Americas is also providing a summary briefing paper that condenses this report for a wider audience.

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