Calls for basestation metering to cut power use

Calls for basestation metering to cut power use

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) in Europe is calling for metering solutions in wireless basestations as an important step for operators to reach net-zero emission targets.

The reduction of power consumption by network operators has been identified as an essential aspect to achieve net-zero emission targets by 2050 or before and to reduce their operational expenses as well. An accurate metering system is a prerequisite to make sure that energy consumption can be properly monitored, measured, and optimised.

The NGMN has outlined the metering goals in different parts of mobile networks and the advantages that can be realised with the implementation of metering solutions in a white paper.

The proposed recommendations for metering solutions assume a unified architecture of a metering system and data collection at site level, for application by operators, thus enabling deployment with low effort. The recommendations cover different use cases and operating models, different topologies of sites including sites owned by one operator, site sharing between different operators, tower companies and RAN (radio access network) sharing scenarios as well.

With much of the energy being consumed in the radio networks, particularly base stations, metering solutions have the biggest immediate impact in radio networks. The growing number of sites is another aspect that should not be neglected.

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The recommendations mainly focus on base station equipment and their technical sites but the recommendations are also applicable to other parts of the mobile network – including core networks, data centres, and backhaul. There were contributions from Intel, Ericsson, Nokia and HPE as well as operators Orange, TNO and DT.

The metering solutions cover not only the sensing but also the necessary infrastructure to collect, transmit and use the information obtained for a better management and improvement of the network. This includes a methodology on how to transfer the information from the measurement site to a central point using different communication channels, protocols, and interfaces to be able to perform an action or distribute information on the network status. With this information, it would be possible to plan the evolution of the network in a way to reduce the energy consumption and improve the efficiency of the network.

“We, like NGMN, in particular ask equipment manufacturers to share architectures and communication protocols to improve the measurements of the energy consumption in base stations, being the most energy consuming part of mobile networks,” said Laurent Leboucher, SVP Orange Innovation Networks, Orange and Member of the NGMN Board. “Our request also applies to all other equipment in the network. Accurate metering solutions are absolutely essential to operators – to make progress on energy efficiency, measuring is essential. This will contribute to our net-zero targets and also to reducing networks operational expenses.”

Another NGMN recommendation is to collaborate with standard developing organisations (SDOs), to create a uniform and more sustainable metering solution for mobile networks by standardising parameters to be measured, data collection methods, interfaces, and communication protocols. Furthermore, it is important to establish an interface between network operators and network equipment suppliers, including manufacturers and vendors.

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