Comms nets could save 90% energy used by 2020


Findings identify technologies and solutions to improve energy efficiency by a factor of 1043 in mobile networks and substantially benefit fixed line and core networks

Energy consumption in overall communications networks could be reduced up to 90% by 2020, stated a new study.

According to the study from GreenTouch, a global consortium dedicated to improving the energy efficiency of data and communications networks, mobile networks stand to benefit the most from energy efficiency efforts, as they are the most inefficient and yet the fastest growing networks in terms of data volumes. They could realise potential energy efficiency improvements of up to 1043 times.

Energy efficiencies in fixed-line and core networks are also expected, but will be less dramatic. The modelling used in the report shows potential improvements in fixed access networks of 449 times and improvements in the core network of 95 times. Such networks are already relatively energy efficient, so further gains will be less significant and much harder to achieve than with mobile networks.

'We are extremely proud of the progress we've made in our first three years, yet there is still much more we can do to improve efficiencies and effectively reinvent technologies in the name of environmental stewardship,' said Thierry Van Landegem, chairman, GreenTouch. 'Reducing energy by 90% is conservative as we have many projects underway whose effects were not taken into account in that number.'

Some of the new technologies, architectures and protocols included in the 2020 modelling are small cells-deployment in dense urban environments, infrastructure-sharing across operators, discontinuous transmissions during periods without traffic, dynamic allocation of resources and the GreenTouch-developed Bit Interleaved Passive Optical Network.

The study applied advanced modelling to better understand potential network operations in 2020, taking into account dramatic increases anticipated in communications traffic over the next decade. The research evaluated energy efficiencies in different types of networks, comparing those in 2010 with those incorporating the technologies and architectures the consortium has identified that could be in use by 2020.

GreenTouch will continue its work on network architectures and technologies to further the consortium's progress and issue reports through 2015, with the next update expected later this year.


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