Skip to main content

How to shrink the energy consumption of radio sites by 30%

Nokia all-in-one cabinet and zero footprint site solution

The requirements for overall energy savings and limiting C02 emissions further are increasing on a global scale. With energy-efficient products, solutions and services, Nokia paves the path for a sustainable future. In this blog, we take a closer look at how our innovative site solutions can help cut down the energy consumption of radio access sites, helping our customers reduce related energy costs and their C02 emissions.

Finding innovative solutions for improving energy efficiency is essential

International policy frameworks aim to limit the carbon footprint of companies and societies, which also creates public pressure to strive for greener operations. The telecommunications industry accounts only for approximately one percent of global energy consumption and related emissions, however, mobile network power consumption is bound to rise driven by exponential traffic growth and need for more infrastructure. We have a big role to play in reducing the carbon footprint of other industries through digitalization and a great responsibility in making our networks more energy efficient.

For mobile operators, the other side of the coin is the cost of energy. Energy consumption accounts for around half of a mobile network’s operational costs and the current uncertainties in the global energy market are creating an urgency for improvements that is quite unprecedented.

At the same time, operators need to invest in wide 5G rollouts and secure a profitable business, which means they are looking for innovative solutions to reduce costs by increasing the energy efficiency across their networks.   

I have touched upon the benefits of digital deployment in driving efficiencies in my previous blog post. Our experience with customers shows that using digital processes for network rollout leads to higher efficiency and considerable reduction in CO2 emissions. But we can still do better – improving the overall energy efficiency of radio sites is the key.

Throughout the lifecycle of radio networks, base station sites account for over 80 percent of the use phase emissions. Roughly 50 percent of energy is used for cooling, lighting, and other auxiliary systems rather than for the transmission of data in the network. These hidden energy guzzlers are the target of Nokia’s energy solutions portfolio.

Removing massive energy inefficiencies with Nokia site solutions

We have developed a new approach to transforming radio access network sites with focus on reducing energy consumption. The basic principle is that we abandon the traditional indoor deployment in favour of installing pre-integrated all-in-one outdoor cabinets or mast/wall mounted zero footprint solutions. 

By moving the site from indoors to outdoors, we are not only saving space, but also harnessing nature herself for cooling our components. This results in average energy savings of 6000 to 10 000 kWh per year. Think of a typical mobile network operator deploying 1000 outdoor sites. By our calculations, the energy savings in 5 years would equal 36 000 metric tons of CO2 emissions - equivalent to more than half a million tree saplings planted and grown for ten years.

When you in addition consider the ease of deployment and material savings of these compact solutions as well as the reduction in need for maintenance compared to an indoor site, we’re reaching estimated lifetime cost savings by up to 30 percent.

Our all-in-one cabinet houses pre-integrated baseband units and components of the energy solution in a compact, portable package, roughly the size of a typical refrigerator. The cabinet itself comes with either fan-cooled or air-conditioned version.

The zero footprint outdoor solution incorporates the baseband units with our highly efficient AirScale power rectifiers and long-lasting lithium batteries in such a compact form factor that it can be installed virtually anywhere with speed and flexibility – basically, all you need is a pole.

Together with our customers, we are happy to be a part of a more energy-conserving future and leading the telecommunications industry towards net zero carbon footprint and beyond.

Nokia’s energy efficient site solutions are commercially available today for operators across the world. We use sophisticated software tools to analyze the network, which helps determine the business benefits based on scientific factors. Get in touch with us to find out how we can create a sustainable impact on your network!

Read more about Nokia site solutions on our webpage.

Mirjana Scheele

About Mirjana Scheele

Mirjana Scheele has served as Vice President of Deploy Services in Nokia since September 2018. She holds a Master of Science in Telecommunication engineering from the University of Belgrade, and joined the company in 1996 as an installation and commissioning engineer and has acquired, since then, broad international experience through various services roles in Belgium, France, China and Germany. Mirjana is very passionate about digitalization in deployment services.

Tweet me at @scheelemirjana

Article tags