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02_GreenFutureNetworks

NGMN Identifies Key Energy Saving Solutions for Mobile Networks

Frankfurt, Germany, November 9, 2021: Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance released “Green Future Networks: Network Energy Efficiency”, a publication which focuses on best possible ways of reducing the energy consumption of mobile networks, a key concern of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and an important step towards greener networks. In its publication, NGMN studies the different existing and future energy saving features and their potential when rolled out in the networks – among others, the usage of automatic wake-up/sleep modes, virtualisation technology, and the usage of efficient power amplifiers combined with massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO).

Key aspects include:

  • application of energy efficiency techniques across the three levels of next generation network operation – the base station equipment level, the site level and the network level
  • importance of leveraging the spectral efficiency of the 5G air interface and its more advanced sleep modes
  • importance of deploying sleep mode functions that shut off hardware when the load is low (path to zero watt at zero load)
  • usage of renewable energy for on-grid and off-grid sites, smart batteries, power efficient power supplies
  • free and liquid cooling solutions in technical sites
  • flexible cooperation between 5G and LTE
  • positive effects of massive MIMO solutions in 5G
  • advantages of virtualisation technology for energy efficiency of mobile networks
  • benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based energy saving solutions and what it takes to build such algorithms

Laurent Leboucher, SVP Orange Innovation Networks, Orange states: “Tomorrow, networks will be greener by design! Today, Orange is already working hard to save energy consumption and reduce the carbon footprint of its networks, making continual progress, through its research efforts and operational deployments. However, this needs to be an industry move and this is where the NGMN Alliance plays a strategic role in unifying the industry. With our knowledge and experience in this area, Orange is delighted to co-lead NGMN‘s Green Future Networks project. As an industry, altogether, with the right technologies and skills, we will be able to fulfill our ‘Green’ commitments.”

Anita Döhler, CEO of the NGMN Alliance, says: “To continue improving the energy performance as well as reducing the global networks energy consumption, vendors and operators are encouraged to put a strong focus on the solutions identified by our Green Future Networks project. The path to zero watt at zero load for future network generations is to be continued, especially, considering the use of AI techniques to intelligently coordinate and optimize more precise decisions for activation and deactivation of the sleep-mode and shut-down features, as well as on-demand network dimensioning.”

The publication also addresses server virtualisation technology which allows workloads to be optimally scheduled on hardware, for example by consolidating workloads onto a reduced number of CPUs for energy efficiency. With virtualisation technology, multiple applications and workloads can be run on a single server, thus increasing energy efficiency. This allows multiple network workloads to run in Virtual Machines (VMs) or containers, thus enabling efficient use of the common server resources.

Despite the fact that operators are already increasing the use of energy saving features, forecasts point to a significant rise in energy consumption over the next couple of years due to considerable increase in traffic across a vast range of use cases, new technologies and spectrum, a great deal of connections, and network densification. Here, AI could play an important role. By predicting and learning the traffic behaviour, AI algorithms define the activation/deactivation of sleep mode functionality and site energy management without impacting the overall performance including Quality of Experience (QoE). AI is still in an early phase and more development and research is needed to reach its full potential. AI based energy saving solutions can greatly increase the energy performance of cellular networks.

The NGMN Alliance emphasises the importance for all vendors and operators to continue the implementation and activation of advanced energy saving features supported by the 5G standard. In a next step, NGMN will look at further opportunities in phase 2 of its Green Future Networks project. Interested parties are invited to contact the NGMN Office for further information and how to join the Alliance.

The present publication is the third deliverable of the NGMN Green Future Networks project following two publications in July 2021. The first, “Sustainability Challenges and Initiatives in Mobile Networks” introduces the subject of sustainability in mobile networks and provides context of this broad and complex topic, the second, “Network Equipment Eco-Design and End to End Service Footprint” gives an overview of the existing procedures and visions for eco-design of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) network equipment. The next publication in this context will be published later this month and will focus on ”Metering for Sustainable Networks”.

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NGMN Green Future Networks Project Update at 5G World

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Ana Maria Galindo Serrano, Orange and Saima Ansari, Deutsche Telekom provide an update on the status of the NGMN Green Future Networks project at 5G World.

Topics they touched on:

  • Carbon neutrality strategies and the use of renewable energy to reduce energy carbon footprint
  • Use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to improve the eco-design of products, lean packaging, critical raw material usage optimization and other topics to reduce the sector’s impact
  • Measurement of operators’ end-to-end service environmental footprint including scope 3, to provide information regarding CO2 equivalent emissions of their data consumption to end users
  • Green features overview to allow the network to better adapt to the traffic demand and to consume electricity only when needed
  • Measuring the energy consumption at different levels of networks to optimise the energy efficiency of the network as a whole
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Disaggregated Networks and Green Future Networks at 5G World

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A strong trigger for NGMN’s transformation was the imperative to address the industries’ major challenges, now and in the upcoming years. That is why our focus topics are: How to master the route to disaggregation concentrating on the E2E operating model, green future networks and 6G.

Arash Ashouriha and Anita Döhler discuss two of  NGMN’s focus topics: Disaggregated Networks and Green Future Networks at 5G World. Arash also shares insights from the Deutsche Telekom perspective.

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NGMN Claims Pole Position in Disaggregation Operating Model, Green Networks and 6G

Frankfurt, Germany: Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance announces its new strategy and claims pole position in addressing the key major Operator & Ecosystem challenges in the coming years.

As an operator driven organisation, NGMN is in a unique position to provide value, guidance and leadership to its members and the whole ecosystem in:

  • Mastering the route to Disaggregation
  • Sustainability / Green Future Networks
  • 6G

Anita Doehler, CEO NGMN, says: “Operators are facing challenges on their route to disaggregation, cloudification and softwarization. One burning topic in this area is the design and execution of effective new E2E operating models. Green Future Networks is another highly important topic the industry ecosystem needs to jointly approach. In addition, early work on 6G has started. Therefore, we have streamlined our Work Programme to focus on these three extremely relevant topics to deliver significant impact in 2021 and beyond. At the same time, we remain committed to further support 5G’s full implementation.”

Mastering the Route to Disaggregation

For mastering disaggregated, cloud- and software-based networks, Mobile Network Operators need to start preparing now for future-proof operating models that are built on the orchestration of powerful ecosystems of solution partners, openness and flexibility to integrate new partners and technologies, highly diverse set of skills and capabilities to drive value and efficiency. NGMN’s new Work Programme will thus focus on the end-to-end operating model, considering, amongst other, the following key aspects: processes, technology, tools and skill requirements. NGMN will provide blueprints as well as relevant guidance towards the industry players and lay out roles and opportunities provided by disaggregation. The initiative aims to shorten time to market and to provide support in the selection and deployment of efficient operating models by Mobile Network Operators.

Providing Impactful Guidance for Green Future Networks

The application of various techniques to improve network energy performance is one fundamental objective for Mobile Network Operators since the number of users, connected devices and general usage continue to grow. The ICT network consumes the most energy in the content delivery process and electricity represents our principal source of greenhouse gas emissions. An additional objective is waste reduction, amongst other enabled by the eco-design of products and equipment. To tackle such important topics, this well-established NGMN project focuses on four major aspects: end-to-end services footprint, eco design, network energy efficiency and on-board metering. Consolidating a common view amongst operators and collaborating with equipment vendors and other industry players enables NGMN to provide a significant industry contribution in achieving UN and GSMA sustainability goals. NGMN plans to release frequent impactful guidance on sustainability to the ecosystem.

 Driving Successful Implementation of 6G

Work focusing on beyond 5G has already started worldwide. The NGMN Alliance strongly believes that societal and operational requirements need to be considered in the development of a new generation. Operators are in a unique position to engage with end users, including vertical industries as well as user groups representing societal needs. The NGMN Alliance is determined to provide early and timely direction for global 6G activities. Its 6G Work Programme currently focuses on vision and drivers, including societal and operational aspects for 6G. This will be followed by use cases and end-to-end system requirements. Actively engaging with different stakeholders and facilitating multilateral cooperation with the wider ecosystem at the right time will support in developing a meaningful vision and drive a successful implementation of 6G in the future. NGMN plans to publish the first version of its “6G Vision & Drivers” White Paper around the end of Q1 of 2021.

Interested industry players are invited to join NGMN in these important initiatives.