EARTH Consortium Shows the Way to 70 Percent Energy Savings on Wireless Networks

Next Generation Communications Blog

EARTH Consortium Shows the Way to 70 Percent Energy Savings on Wireless Networks

By Mae Kowalke

They wanted to reduce the energy consumption of mobile networks by half. Instead, they developed a framework that cut nearly three quarters of energy consumption.

Led by Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson over the course of two and a half years, the EARTH (Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies) consortium of 15 telecommunications providers, vendors and academic institutions developed everything from more efficient components in radio base stations to solutions on the radio network level, according to a press release from Alcatel-Lucent. The research was partially funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7).

In the process, the consortium demonstrated how operators could save up to 70 percent of energy consumed in their networks using a holistic energy efficiency approach for 4G radio communications.

The consortium came to the conclusion that a holistic approach could save energy through:

  • Limits and metrics such as better deployment scenarios and traffic patterns
  • Better deployment of relays and overlay macro cell towers
  • Network management such as EE adaptive capacity
  • Radio technology and components like power-scalable transceivers and adaptive matching networks

Because the EARTH consortium was made up of operators and vendors, key components of the system were implemented, validated, experimentally analyzed and tested under realistic operating conditions in many cases.  As Alcatel-Lucent noted this proved that the efficiency claims of the approach are more than just theoretical.

“We have taken Green to the heart of our research programs,” said Tod Sizer, head of access research at Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, Bell Labs. “Our commitment to initiatives such as EARTH is a prominent example of how Alcatel-Lucent is driving sustainable innovation. We know it cannot be accomplished alone, and we need models of action like EARTH.”

“We were glad to have a leading role in the EARTH project, and to contribute to creating a broader understanding of trends in network energy consumption over the next ten years, added Jan Färjh, vice president and head of Ericsson Research. “It will be crucial for telecom companies to work even more actively with implementing the best practice concepts developed in the project into reality.”

The consortium also developed a framework for evaluating wireless energy efficiency. The EARTH Energy Efficiency Evaluation Framework (E3F) creates an objective and fair rating of wireless network energy efficiency.  Major operators have long desired a global standard to measure wireless network energy efficiency, as part of their efforts for eco-sustainability and they now have one with E3F.

The EARTH consortium was composed of project coordinator Alcatel-Lucent, technical manager Ericsson, NXP Semiconductors France, DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH, Telecom Italia S.p.A., CEA, University of Surrey, Technische Universität Dresden, imec, IST- Technical University of Lisbon, University of Oulu, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, TTI and ETSI, according to the Alcatel-Lucent press release.

More information about the findings of the consortium can be found at the EARTH website.

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