16 energy efficient radio techniques in new network roadmap

16 energy efficient radio techniques in new network roadmap

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) has published a new roadmap on reducing energy consumption in mobile networks with an impact on system architectures, next generation device design and AI.

The Green Future Networks Roadmap to Energy Efficient Radio Networks from the NGNM outlines 16 different energy saving techniques and intelligent approaches that are currently used or under development in the industry with real-world data, as well the opportunities for AI to save energy in the Release 18 and coming Release 19 3GPP specifications.

Energy consumption can be reduced through process optimisations, engineering and operational improvements, and the deployment of recent technologies in chip designs.

Being able to measure Radio Access Network (RAN) energy efficiency is an important part of the Process. There are two approaches explored for assessing Base Station (BS) equipment in the lab; the static measurement procedure for power consumption and the dynamic measurement.

Each has its place when testing today’s modern equipment but a base station can be used in many different configurations, purposes and contexts. In addition, to support network energy optimisation, AI could be a key tool to provide energy consumption estimation and prediction while limiting the amount of data collected and transferred throughout the network.

However the use of AI itself is an energy cost, so the energy efficient radio report recommends standards organisations to define methodologies to transfer and update AI models at the nodes where network configuration and parameters are controlled.

With the increasing size of AI models, the report advocates the need to adjust the model complexity to minimise the energy consumption that arises from: model training, transmission and execution.

Operators are also looking to integrate novel hardware and software mechanisms to support AI-based network modelling and optimisation. At the software level, integrating new intelligent solutions could allow the network to reduce the energy use by adjusting the available network capacity to the actual traffic load at each given point in time.

In indoor deployments, a new energy saving technology is proposed to manage the state of each radio unit (RU) all belonging to a given cell independently to dynamically switch off the Power Amplifier (PA) of any RUs that do not harbour user connection or data transmission at a given point of time.

Trials have highlighted that this solution achieves an energy saving gain of 20% relative to an always-on network deployment. Where switching off radio components is not possible, due to non-negligible load, an RU implementing an intelligent resource allocation that decreases the transmit power by limiting the transmission spectral efficiency could lead up to 30% reduction in load-dependent energy use at the RU, without impacting the Quality of Service (QoS).

This leads to recommendations for standards organisations to define methodologies to coordinate properly RUs tasked with implementing distinct and potentially competing energy saving mechanisms

“Reducing energy consumption while maintaining service performance is a key ongoing challenge for the industry,” said Arash Ashouriha, Chairman of the NGMN Alliance Board and SVP Group Technology at Deutsche Telekom. “NGMN’s Green Future Networks Programme continues to provide the industry with valuable actionable guidance by pooling the very best of industry knowledge and shaping clear recommendations.”

Laurent Leboucher, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Group CTO at Orange added: “Finding ways to reduce energy consumption and meet our climate goals is of utmost importance to the industry. The solutions span multiple domains: better network planning and engineering, improved network management, the application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and the development and use of new technologies. Only by working together and collaborating within industry alliances such as NGMN can we achieve these goals.”

As part of the publication of the energy efficient radio network roadmap, mobile network operators (MNOs) are encouraged to share wireless and RAN infrastructure and utilise the network resources to limit energy consumption and carbon emissions. It is also recommended that standards development organisations enhance interworking between mobile networks and energy suppliers as a method to reduce carbon footprints and costs, while maintaining service availability.

“Energy reduction, the use of renewables, and the continued delivery of high quality mobile services are non-negotiable cornerstones of how the mobile industry must operate now and in the future,” said Luke Ibbetson, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Head of Group R&D at Vodafone. “Vodafone is proud to have acted as co-lead for this initiative within NGMN and will continue to actively lead and support this important work going forward.”

The energy efficient radio roadmap can be downloaded from here:



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