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Energy efficiency takes center stage

Energy efficiency takes center stage

Technology is a true enabler for tackling climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations body that assesses science related to climate change, released the Synthesis report for its Sixth Assessment Report during the recent session in Switzerland. Unfortunately, the report finds that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have continued to increase and warns that the pace and scale of climate action are insufficient to tackle climate change. 

IPCC sees technology innovation systems as an important enabler for tackling climate change. In fact, to keep reducing the carbon emissions, we need to rethink everything from how we design, use and recycle mobile network products to how we build a sustainable value chain. 

Radio network energy efficiency makes a big difference

The reality is that our industry has an extremely important role to play in helping other industries tackle their C02 emissions. Let’s remember that 5G is designed to be 100 times more energy efficient compared to the earlier generations of radio technologies. It means that while the mobile traffic increases exponentially, the energy consumption of the network does not grow by the same factor.

The last 12 months have seen a decoupling of data traffic, electricity use and carbon emissions. While the mobile industry has continued to see double-digit growth in data traffic, our environmental impacts have grown at a much slower pace. This is a positive sign which shows the industry is moving in the right direction. Yet, continued efforts are needed both to prevent emissions from rising and to rapidly decrease them.

Latest Nokia portfolio enhancements for energy efficiency 

This year at MWC, we invited our visitors for a focused Energy efficiency journey to help them understand the breadth and depth of energy efficiency thinking embedded in our entire product portfolio. We are focusing on holistic solutions in which all ingredients contribute to sustainability.

Let’s take a look at what we brought to the show floor in Barcelona. Nokia introduced a full range of energy efficiency improvements across our radio access network products incorporating the latest ReefShark System-on-Chips, our microwave transport products as well as our digital services portfolio, which together enable one third lower energy consumption compared to earlier generations of products and services.  

The new AirScale Habrok radios reduce energy consumption in all traffic conditions. When combined with the Digital Design for Energy Efficiency services and the new deep sleep mode software feature, significant energy savings are reachable in both busy hours and at zero traffic conditions. These improvements can also contribute to mobile user experience by enabling higher throughput during peak traffic.

We have enriched our Wavence microwave radio transport solution with traffic-aware sleep mode software and embedded power metering – a feature which we previously included in the AirScale base station products. With these features, it is possible to measure power consumption in the live network and further optimize the transport network energy efficiency. 

On top of these in-built energy-saving enhancements, the artificial intelligence and machine learning based automation capabilities of our Nokia SON can reduce the energy consumption across the radio network by an additional 15%. This is particularly important in today’s networks where many cell sites are added for improving coverage and capacity for peak traffic hours, and as much as 70% of the resources can be idle when the traffic load is low. 

There was particular interest in our unique solutions like the innovative Liquid Cooling technology for AirScale baseband, which we were the first in the world to commercialize in 2022. This year, we introduced the new generation of liquid-cooled AirScale subrack, which can reduce baseband cooling system energy consumption especially in baseband hotel use cases by up to 90%. 

Additionally, our All-in-One cabinet site solution helps reduce overall energy consumption at the base station site by 30%, particularly because of the cooling system. Many MWC visitors also wanted to hear about the new, more efficient AirScale power system, now enriched to support emerging energy market use cases, which can unlock new business opportunities for mobile operators.

The new products and services will help our customers concretely reduce carbon emissions across their value chain, which was seen as increasingly important in many discussions we had with operators. In fact, in addition to new energy-saving features for network equipment, we also introduced a radio network software feature that helps reduce energy consumption of the mobile devices. This can make a big difference when our customers are reporting their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

What more can we do?

There is only so much that our industry can achieve alone. We also need governments to build incentives that help the mobile industry fulfill its potential for accelerating the digitalization of other industries. We can make them more time and resource efficient and more productive, which in turn helps the societies become more sustainable.

Want to know more? See our Zero emission mobile networks webpage.