By Vikram Srinivasan, Director, Networking Systems Research, Bell Labs, India
The GreenTouch consortium was formed with the ambitious goal of inventing new technologies that could reduce the energy expenditure of telecommunication networks by a factor of 1000 by 2015. Two of the newest members of the consortium are the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, two premier research institutes in India. We recognized that India faces certain unique challenges and Green is not only far more relevant in emerging markets such as India, but also that emerging markets require certain unique technical challenges in the field of Green Networking. With this in mind, the Green Telecom and IT Workshop was co-organized by Bell Labs and IISc with support from GreenTouch to explore collaborative opportunities, on April 4-5, 2012.
The Workshop was kicked off with two exciting keynotes by Dr. Gee Rittenhouse, President of the GreenTouch consortium and Prof. Rod Tucker from the University of Melbourne. Dr. Gee Rittenhouse outlined the vision of GreenTouch. He outlined some ongoing projects in wireline and wireless networking that would help achieve this goal. Dr. Rod Tucker then delved into the details of why research in Green networking was absolutely essential. His analysis showed that while Telecom comprised about 2% of total energy consumption today, with the rapid growth in data traffic, this fraction could reach alarming proportions in a few years.
Further, on Day two there was a keynote talk by Prof. Vinod Sharma from IISc. Apart from these key notes, there were 21 technical talks from Academia and Industry comprising IISc, IIT Delhi, IIT Chennai, IIT Mumbai, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), IBM Research, Microsoft Research and Bell Labs. The talks were divided into 6 sessions comprising Green IT, Green Access (2 sessions), Green Routers and Transport, Green Devices and Energy Harvested Networks.
The speakers from Bell Labs were Thierry Klein, Peter Vetter, Peter Winzer, David Neilson, Milind Budhikkot, Rouzbeh Razhavi and Vikram Srinivasan. They outlined various approaches by Bell Labs Researchers to tackle the 1000X goal ranging from small cells, dynamic spectrum access and cloud RAN on the wireless side, to bit-interleaved PON, quantum communications and spatial multiplexing and green routers and interconnects on the wireline side.
It was interesting to note that almost all the Academics from India were focused on the design of energy harvested networks. The key challenge in India is that cell sites do not have reliable access to the power grid and up to 70% of the operators OPEX is energy related. Prof. Jamadagni from IISc and a member of TRAI outlined the regulators proposals on making a significant fraction of base stations in rural and urban areas run on energy harvested sources by 2020. Prof. Jhunjunwala from IIT Chennai explored the optimal mix of energy sources (solar, battery and diesel generators) in order to minimize the operator’s OPEX. Prof. Vinod Sharma in his key note talk explored the fundamental information theoretic and queuing theoretic limits of communications in energy harvested scenarios. Other Indian Academics talked about the design of algorithms for communications in energy harvested scenarios, including using cooperative relays etc.
In addition to the technical talks, there was a Panel discussion on “The Innovation Opportunity and need for green telecommunications in India”. The Panel was moderated by Suresh Goyal, Head of Green Research in Bell Labs and included Gee Rittenhouse, Prof. Rod Tucker, Arun Seth (Chairman Alcatel-Lucent, India), Mrs. Shachi Devi ( CTO, Indus Towers), Harish Hande (Co-founder, SELCO, India, Magsaysay award winner), Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, (Professor, IIT Chennai) and Srikantan Moorthy (Senior Vice President and Group Head, Education & Research, Infosys). The Panel discussion was extremely lively and spanned a broad range of topics from Green Telecom to sustainability. The lively debate highlighted some of the unique challenges faced in India from a sustainability and Green perspective.
On the whole, the workshop was well attended with around 150 participants spanning Academia and Industry. It helped build bridges between IISc, IIT Delhi and other Green Touch partners and several areas of potential collaboration have been identified.
More Info: Website url: https://sites.google.com/site/greenworkshops4/?s_cid=smm_tmc0304_bl