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Can network energy efficiency beat traffic growth?

This blog is by Volker Held, Head of Innovation Marketing at Nokia Networks.
Twitter: @v_held

Let’s talk energy! Where does it typically come from? What are the direct costs? What are the indirect costs as well as related impacts and issues that future generations may face?

In mature markets, energy costs account for 10-15% of the total network operating expenses (OPEX) and can reach up to 50% in markets with a high number of off-grid sites or a poor quality electricity grid.

Meanwhile, broadband traffic is showing a steep increase, especially on mobile networks, elevating demand for extended coverage and capacity. Expectations are high network features and capabilities to be available at any time, any location, instantly - as the requirements for the 5G era and Internet of Things (IoT) indicate. Can technology and product evolution improve energy efficiency enough to compensate for the extended capacity needs?

Nokia's five-point approach can help operators solve the energy efficiency challenge to not only keep network energy consumption flat, but even reduce it.

* Base station efficiency - from peak to average radio front end power amplifier efficiency and miniaturization
* Site optimization - apply the best site concept, eliminate cooling and feeder loss, add renewable energy
* Network architecture evolution – improved resource utilization and capacity increase through multi-radio, densification, beamforming, distributed base stations and capacity-driven network evolution
* Network management and control – teaching networks to be energy aware with advanced dormancy concepts, leveraging the potential of self-organizing networks (SON)
* Network modernization – modernization at the right time before expenditure increases can be justified by energy savings alone.

In fact, Orange recently won the Celtic-Plus 2015 Innovation Award for its Opera-Net project on ‘Optimised Power Efficiency in mobile Radio Networks’. With the support of Nokia and partners, Orange was able to demonstrate a 35 GWh energy reduction in 2013 and about 5 M€ annual savings in OPEX after rolling out only few measures across most of Europe, Africa and the Middle East - and the research continues.

Need more convincing? Check out our Technology Vision 2020 and our new Whitepaper "Flatten Network Energy" to learn more about our innovation approach to enable mobile broadband networks to profitably deliver gigabytes of personalized data per user per day by 2020 and how to flatten your total energy consumption.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #innovation #FutureWorks #energy.

Volker Held

About Volker Held

At Nokia, Volker is combining the technology and business side of innovation. He is a 5G veteran and the co-author of the famous 5G triangle with the three 5G use cases. Volker was leading Nokia’s 5G market development activities for several years. Right from the early days of 5G he has been advocating for the transformative benefits of the technology for enterprises.

Tweet me at @v_held

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