PARTNER CONTENT: The arrival of 5G networks has happened at a time when debate around climate change is dominating global headlines. With more than 40 operators already having launched mobile and fixed 5G, one of the key messages from this year’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF) focused on how the development of the 5G economy should, first and foremost, be a “green” economy.
At the heart of this green economy, according to Huawei, is “the promotion of the efficient use of resources by society through low-carbon policies and green innovation, to promote the well-being of people in an inclusive manner while protecting the sustainability of natural systems.”
Highlighting work the operator community has undertaken, GSMA Chief Technology Officer Alex Sinclair noted in his keynote appearance at MBBF how more than 50 operators have signed up to an initiative to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.
Operators such as China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, LG Uplus, MTN Group, Spark New Zealand, Sunrise, Telus, Vodafone and Zain have agreed to start disclosing the environmental impact of their businesses. The initiative aims to develop a climate action roadmap and identify ways for the industry to reduce the amount of gaseous carbon compounds it releases.
The GSMA-led roadmap will also include development of an industry-wide plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a target outlined by the United Nations’ (UN) Paris Agreement.
GSMA CTO Sinclair said operators can also “do a lot for other verticals to help make them more efficient as well”, by enabling new use cases which allow companies to monitor their consumption of resources.”
The CEO of Europe’s first 5G operator Sunrise, Olaf Swantee, highlighted some of those use cases in his keynote presentation at MBBF. Swantee sees a huge opportunity for 5G to make farming even more effective and efficient, reducing its environmental impact. He pointed to an implementation of making milk production as efficient as possible thanks to real-time 5G services.
And the utility sector will benefit too from 5G, with Swantee noting how the technology will offer “the ability to make water consumption and electricity more efficient and effectively managed.”
Swantee was adamant 5G will provide a major boost to the environment, hitting back at “fake news” suggesting the technology is in any way dangerous: “It’s absurd to believe that 5G cannot bring benefits for the environment…. making our grids more efficient… making our telecommunication systems more efficient…. We have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment.”
However, these benefits are only being realised thanks to innovation from companies like Huawei. As the vendor showcased at MBBF, it is strongly committed to utilising advanced technologies to help operators continuously reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.
Indeed, ‘energy efficiency’ has been one of the key concerns of future communications networks. With the move to 5G potentially causing network power consumption to increase, Huawei and its partners are helping drive the industry forward in offering solutions that overcome this challenge. The company is making the most of advanced technologies including chipsets, advanced materials, Artificial Intelligence (AI) among other digital technologies to help carriers reduce CO2 emissions and to apply these to the wider ICT sector. By doing so, our entire society will achieve sustainable development.
5G Full-Series Solution
At MBBF, Edward Deng, President of Huawei’s Wireless Solution, unveiled Huawei’s latest 5G Full-Series Solution, which included a focus on energy efficiency.
“5G has come. Powerful networks deliver optimal user experiences. Advanced algorithms ensure optimal performance. Autonomous driving networks empower the most efficient operation and maintenance. This is what we aim to help operators achieve with 5G,” said Deng.
As 5G begins to see large-scale deployment all around the world, Huawei has released its third generation 5G Massive MIMO. Combining industry-leading technologies and processes, such as 7nm chips and new compound materials, this product further improves performance over its previous models.
This Massive MIMO product supports up to 400 MHz bandwidth in all spectrum scenarios, the highest in the industry. Its transmit power is up 320 W, also the industry’s highest, allowing for wider C-band coverage. Weight-wise, the Huawei product once again takes the record, coming in at only 25 kg, enabling it to be deployed by a single person in most scenarios. Its power consumption is comparable to the RRUs having the same transmit power, enabling operators to reduce mobile network OPEX. It aims to eliminate the barriers to global deployment across all scenarios, and become a new standard to drive large-scale 5G deployment.
To maximize network energy efficiency, Huawei provides operators with solutions to completing multidimensional proactive energy consumption management and increasing energy-saving levels and effective durations. This helps ensure the highest possible energy efficiency while balancing both performance and energy efficiency.
5G Power Solutions
Focusing specifically on green solutions, last year Huawei was the first in the industry to release a whole series of 5G power solutions, and the company has shipped more than 365,000 units of its 5G Power Solution in the last twelve months. In September the company unveiled its latest 5G eMIMO Power Solution, which will be available in the second quarter of 2020.
The 5G eMIMO Power Solution uses technologies such as AI, big data and digitalisation and complies with the three concepts of “simple, intelligent and green.” One set of power supply equipment supports 36kW ultra-large capacity and multiple input and output modes, meeting diversified power supply requirements and enabling operators to construct and operate 5G networks in a faster, more cost-effective and simpler manner.
In a recent interview, Mr Peng Jianhua, President of Telecom Energy at Huawei, told Mobile World Live: “We are continuously innovating on technologies to promote a 5G power solution that is simple, green and intelligent and always helps carriers to reduce CAPEX, OPEX, CO2 emissions and contribute to help carriers develop clean and green networks.”
He added: “Without exaggeration we can claim that, as of now, Huawei is the only company that truly provides the next-generation 5G energy solution, really helping carriers to reduce both CAPEX and OPEX in their 5G deployment. Our ultimate goal is for carriers to achieve zero watt and zero bit.”
ITU driving change
The move to a “green” 5G network is one that has captured the attention of the entire ecosystem. As well as operators and vendors playing their part, the UN’s communication technology agency ITU plays a leading role in the development of energy efficiency standards.
Dr Eun-Ju Kim, Chief of Digital Knowledge Hub at the agency’s BDT unit, highlighted at MBBF how the industry can contribute to all 17 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – with a particular focus on ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’ (Goal 7) and ‘Climate Action’ (Goal 13).
“There is a link between the digital economy and the green economy,” she said in an interview with Mobile World Live at the event. “The energy consumption of 5G is similar to 4G, but 5G can bring so many more benefits with the same amount of energy consumption… which means 5G can actually contribute to the environment through digital technology.”