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Mobile operators have set ambitious targets--is it possible to boost network capacity while reducing its energy consumption?

Gilbert Micallef1*, Preben Mogensen2 and Hans-Otto Scheck3

Author Affiliations

1 Radio Access Technology, Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Niels Jernes Vej 12 A6, 9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark

2 Nokia Siemens Networks, Aalborg, Denmark

3 Nokia Siemens Networks, Kista, Sweden

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EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 2012, 2012:34  doi:10.1186/1687-1499-2012-34

Published: 6 February 2012


While operators have to upgrade the capacity of their networks, they have committed themselves to reduce their CO2 emissions, partly by reducing their energy consumption. This article investigates the challenges faced by operators and quantifies, through a number of case studies, the impact of specific solutions and how the energy consumption trend can be expected to develop over the next decade. With different options for upgrading capacity, studies show that a hybrid macro-pico upgrade is more energy-efficient than a macro or pico only solution. The study is extended further by quantifying the possible savings by adopting an energy-efficient capacity evolution together with an equipment replacement and site upgrade strategy. Results show that network operators can get relatively close to their targets, with energy reductions of up to 40% noted. While this can be improved further through software-based energy saving features, further CO2 emissions can be offset through the use of carbon-neutral energy sources.

Green radio; energy saving; network evolution; network upgrade; HSPA; LTE; base station site; remote radio head