Academics told the recent Brooklyn 6G Summit technical specifications and standards could hold the key to mobile industry efforts to boost sustainability, with power consumption a major target area.

Ted Rappaport, a professor at New York University and founding director of the NYU Wireless research centre, explained his team is focused on the ancillary power in mobile networks, approaching consumption modelling in the same way engineers handle signal-to-noise ratios.

“You have the power you need to do the application, and ancillary power that is wasted”, Rappaport noted, adding his research team had produced a mathematical formula enabling engineers to assess the power efficiency of wireless network architectures, equipment and user interfaces.

This work is being applied to devices used in the Industrial IoT sector, he explained.

Andrea Goldsmith, dean of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, highlighted a relative lack of action on promoting sustainable network architectures among mobile standards bodies.

Goldsmith remarked standards bodies had made power efficiency “a big focus” during the creation of 3G, but not since.

Today standards bodies only discuss sustainability with respect to devices, Goldsmith added, predicting the stance could prove particularly harmful for lower income countries, where the cost of power can be a limiting factor in access to mobile infrastructure and networks.