Green and energy efficient processes in the telecommunications industry have become critical concerns around the world. As a result, service providers are seeking software and hardware solutions that create win/win situations, i.e., enable them to be responsible stewards of scarce resources yet expand their ability to reach all social levels of society in developing countries. In short, the goal is twofold: being better stewards of the environment, and reducing their utility bills.
Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) recently issued a series of research reports that focus on problems facing telecom service providers worldwide and solutions that can help them get started on overcoming these challenges. Projects covered in the reports include:
- Greener: Green, energy efficient network re-organization
- Mango: Mobile audio-video to g
- Money Bee: Operator-enabled mobile crowd-sourcing servic
- Teleport: Traffic congestion solution using Bluetoot
- VillageNet: Providing broadband access to villages
- WhiteNet: Operating networks over the unused TV spectrum
On the subject of being environmentally responsible, one area in particular where mobile service providers they are looking is at finding the right size cell that can deliver the maximum amount of coverage for the least amount of energy usage. As the Greener solution paper notes, and is further highlighted in several of the other papers, small cell deployment is not only good for relieving network traffic congestion in high-usage areas, but also is part of an energy consumption reduction plan and provides a platform for affordable access.
Indeed, India today, as featured in the Money Bee report, is in the midst of a crush of mobile users who all want a data-rich network to access the various data, from entertainment programming to work applications. The country’s current mobile networks for the most part d not have the reach to all of those users. Part of this is based on network coverage but a significant part is due to the disparity in incomes which means price is a barrier to macro cellular usage.
Alcatel-Lucent believes that a way around this problem would be to utilize hotspots as well as backhaul to allow mobile phones to communicate via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Reality is that while the lower end of socio-economic scale might be lacking many modern conveniences they have (as noted in the Mango project) mobile devices.
The Money Bee project in fact speaks to a common problem in developing countries. People cherish and are willing to sacrifice to have a personal device but struggle to extract its value because of the price of service. This is why increasing Internet crowd sourcing platforms, which is a desirable way for people to communicate, are looking to leverage non-cellular wireless access solutions to make communications affordable.
As the VillageNet project highlights, rural areas once thought to be too be too expensive to provision with broadband Internet access are now getting a second look as a result of the combination of Wi-FI and inexpensive backhaul.
On the urban side of things, particularly in the large cities in the developing world with extraordinarily high population densities, as the Teleport solution highlights, Bluetooth is being looked to as a solution for alleviating vehicular traffic congestion which is a significant problem in rapidly growing areas. Since most phones contain Bluetooth technology and most people who can afford vehicles have personal communications devices, a traffic sensing system has been developed that will detect those devices and provide real-time feedback that an tell the driver how long it will take to arrive at their destination.
Around the world, countries one-by-one are dropping analog television for a digital signal. It’s become the standard, and it’s opening up radio signals referred to as television whitespaces. This has lead many tech companies to begin planning various business activities for this newly opened space. One approach highlighted in the WhiteNet research paper is to develop a network access device that uses the whitespace for networking. The goal here is to is used the availability of the vacated spectrum as the foundation for the next generation of mobility services. This is getting serious attention because the global availability makes it economically feasible for manufacturers of devices to include access in this spectrum in their products, and because it is also a solution to the spectrum crunch now impacting many mobile operators around the world.
The six reports highlight how Alcatel-Lucent’s High Leverage Network™ approach is being used as the unifying theme for building solutions that can help developing countries grow their economies in a way that is responsible as well as economical for the providers as well as their customers.
Edited by Peter Bernstein