Do Operators Have Enough “Power” in 2016?
United Nations released its 2016 Sustainable
Development Goals, which include a focus on building resilient infrastructure
as well as ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. This pushes businesses in all sectors of the economy to renew
their focus on energy. According to studies at IEEE, telecommunications consumes
more than one percent of total energy usage worldwide, roughly the
equivalent to all the energy consumption by Saudi Arabia.
Power costs, along with rental cost and
equipment/depreciation, are the three large operational expenses in running a
network (whether it is wireless operator, data center host or broadband service
provider), so they play a prominent role in every operator’s budget. Let’s take
a look at three areas that can have the most impact for service providers.
in RAN Network
There are five key areas where operators look at
reducing power in their radio access network (RAN):
- RF loss
of RF transmission
- Distance to
Equipment energy consumption is established during deployment
but affects operational costs throughout the life of the product. As power
amplifiers and various digital processing components become more efficient,
they consume less energy and reduce cooling costs, which is a large consumer of
power in its own right.
Resistive direct current (DC) loss occurs on the
tower between the base and the remote radio head (RRH). When the distance between the tower and the RRH
is large, the loss as current flows along the power cables can be significant.
RF loss that occurs after the last active component
(the amplifier) directly impacts the system. Duplexers, cables, combiners, and
antennas all reduce the amount of RF energy that is actually transmitted to the
Efficiency of RF transmission comes down to antenna
patterns, as well as directionality of the antenna. In both setup and pattern,
the antenna plays a very important role in the speed of the network and its
power efficiency. Poor patterns and inexact alignments result in greater
requirements on the active portion of the system, which requires greater power.
Distance to user simply means that the closer a user
is to a transmission point, the less power both the user and the infrastructure
need to transmit. Whether indoors or in a metro environment, smaller cells
physically located close to the user reduces the power needs of each cell.
and Efficient Building Networks
The building of the future will collapse several
discrete networks into one system. Disparate data networks for managing
everything from air conditioning to entry systems will be joined
to the traditional Ethernet network, connected wired and wirelessly. The data networks are not the only area that will
change. Power networks have had few changes in the past 100 years, but are
starting to join the networking revolution.
2003, power over Ethernet (PoE)-compliant switches started moving power at DC, delivering
15 watts of power. This has increased to 25 watts and is planned to increase to
90 watts. Although transporting power at lower DC voltages over smaller
diameter cabling reduces efficiency in transport, it improves efficiency in
conversion and control, and massively reduces the cost and speed at which edge
devices are deployed.
take advantage of higher power, the draft standard IEEE P802.3bt supports power
scaling between switch and powered devices, but requires high-quality cabling. The
ability to regulate and shut down power to inactive devices is environmentally-friendly
because it reduces total power consumption.
Broadband service providers need to deploy remote devices but
are challenged when it comes to location and power to the edge. Network
engineers plan a desired location, but the absence of local power that is
economical forces placement in alternate locations. Deploying a
hybrid cable, with both fiber and low voltage, fed from the same location is a
great alternative to finding local AC power. Planning and deployment time is
greatly reduced by this integrated solution. It can enable fiber to the
demarcation points, metrocell deployments, and other outdoor edge devices such
as Wi-Fi and security cameras.
With the increasing need to deliver more data for
less money, network operators will continue to focus on improving their
networks’ efficiency while keeping an eye on improved energy efficiency. Is
your network doing enough?
About the Author
Mr. Kurk took the role of chief technology officer for CommScope in October 2015. His prior assignment as the senior vice president of the wireless segment included responsibility for indoor, outdoor, and backhaul businesses. Mr. Kurk started his career at Motorola in 1994 where he was a hardware development engineer for base stations and a product manager for a CDMA base station product line. He joined Allen Telecom in 1997, which became part of Andrew Corporation in 2004. Mr. Kurk held a variety of positions including director of business development in the United States and China; vice president of R&D, PLM, and Strategy; and vice president and general manager of the Wireless Innovations Group worldwide. In 2009, he joined CommScope as senior vice president of the Enterprise business unit. In total he has more than 20 years of experience solving communication problems.
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