Two trends that have redefined the world in the past 20 years were married in Europe recently. Eco-sustainability and Internet communications technology came together when the EARTH (Energy Aware (News - Alert) Radio and neTwork tecHnologies) consortium of 15 telecommunications providers, vendors and academic institutions developed a framework that reduces the energy consumption of mobile networks by up to 70 percent.
Led by Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) over the course of two and a half years, the EARTH consortium developed everything from more efficient components in radio base stations to solutions on the radio network level, according to a news 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 ICT sector is growing but its carbon footprint should not follow,” noted European commission VP Neelie Kroes on the consortium website. “I congratulate the partners of the EARTH project who have found ways to deliver the services we need while reducing CO2 emissions and cutting down on energy bills.”
The holistic approach looked at how to save energy through limits and metrics such as better deployment scenarios and traffic patterns, through better deployment of relays and overlay macro cell towers, through network management such as EE adaptive capacity, and through radio technology and components like power-scalable transceivers and adaptive matching networks, according to the consortium.
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 cased, according to Alcatel-Lucent, proving that the efficiency is 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 (News - Alert). “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.”
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, according to the Alcatel-Lucent press release. It says that major operators have long desired a global standard to measure wireless network energy efficiency, and they now have one with E3F.
Partners who helped with the eco-sustainability consortium included Ericsson (News - Alert), DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH and the University of Surrey, among many others.
Edited by Brooke Neuman