Networks today must leverage the latest innovations in broadband Internet technologies and optics. The network must provide eco-sustainability in traffic transport and deliver services more intelligently, reliably, securely, efficiently and at the lowest cost.
- Holistic and intelligent networks are imperative;
- A High Leverage Network (HLN) can create eco-sustainable savings;
- Bell Labs estimates that a typical HLN can save 1.1 million kilowatt-hours per year;
- The intelligent, eco-sustainable network
Globally, end-user demand for high-bandwidth services with enhanced quality of experience is exploding. In addition, global market dynamics are dictating that service providers must have the agility to support multiple business models to deliver innovative revenue-generating services. Energy efficiency, a reduced carbon footprint and eco-sustainability have also become key focus areas. To meet all these challenges, wireline and wireless service providers will need to evolve their networks to a next-generation, all-IP multiservice infrastructure that is fully converged, optimized and scalable.
Networks today must leverage the latest innovations in broadband Internet technologies and optics. The network must provide eco-sustainability in traffic transport and deliver services more intelligently, reliably, securely, efficiently and at the lowest cost. The Alcatel-Lucent High Leverage Network (HLN) architecture provides a holistic, intelligent, integrated approach to meet these demands. It can reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) by employing fewer devices that are able to do more with less, offering an eco-sustainable choice for today’s service providers.
Fewer devices mean less power and less cooling, which reduces the service provider’s carbon footprint. For example, the HLN can handle large amounts of traffic more efficiently at the lowest possible layer of the network because both bandwidth and intelligence are designed-in to send traffic only where it needs to go at the highest speed and in the most efficient way. This integrated and intelligent approach to IP and optics allows the network to send traffic at the optical layer, consuming less power and cooling than sending it at the routing layer.
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector only accounts for approximately 2% of the world’s total power consumption and the associated carbon footprints. ICT is considered a clean industry with a relatively light carbon footprint. Choosing green allows businesses to grow responsibly. A real opportunity for the HLN lies in the ability to reduce carbon footprints through new communications applications for customers. It also provides eco-sustainability benefits in adjacent markets. This means the HLN can help to reduce carbon footprints from other sectors that account for the remaining 98%. The HLN can help enhance some of the following areas:
- Managed communications services and cloud computing;
- Green data centers and further virtualization of network computing;
- Enhanced conferencing and telepresence to reduce physical travel;
- Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring;
- Remote learning and education programs;
- Smart metering, smart utility and smart transportation grids;
- Co-sponsored and co-branded green promotions and loyalty programs;
Eco-sustainability demands a commitment in managing the environmental impact of a network solution throughout its life cycle — from innovative design, to solution realization, to end-of-life management. Delivering on this commitment means solutions that:
- Occupy less space and generate less heat;
- Run on reusable energy (wind, sun, geo-thermal and hydro) when/where applicable
- Provide more functionality per kilowatt used;
- Use recycled materials for manufacturing, providing full recycling at end-of-life;
- Serve as a platform for others to provide green services and applications;
The end-to-end approach to eco-sustainability
The HLN takes an end-to-end approach to sustainable networks, including eco-efficient solutions for the network, outside plant and customer premises. Following are some examples:
- In wireless access, the converged radio access network addresses energy efficiency and minimizes materials production through software-only upgrades. This is complemented by an alternative energy program to power remote locations by using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power with intelligent power control.
- Green DSL solutions for wireline access deliver more bandwidth with 25% less power, using unique Smart DSL technology to stabilize DSL lines and eco-efficient distributed digital subscriber line access multiplexers (DSLAMs), while new compact Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) terminators consume up to 30% less power.
- In metro aggregation and the service edge, multi-terabit IP/MPLS platforms combine high bandwidth and intelligence using Alcatel-Lucent innovative FP2 silicon. Enhancements in thermal efficiency mean these platforms deliver greater traffic volumes and enable more services in a smaller physical footprint, while consuming less power and cooling per gigabit.
- An eco-sustainable approach to packet optical transport handles traffic at the most economical layer. The most power-efficient layer— either electronic or photonic — is selected automatically and uses less power per transported bit than traditional optical transport. “Zero-Touch Photonics” enables remote and automated operation, administration and management (OA&M) at the photonic layer, eliminating costly truck rolls and site visits.
The HLN also has an intelligent and integrated approach to converged service control, with more capacity on a smaller footprint using less power when compared to previous solutions. For example, today’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution takes up 96% less space and uses 91% less power than TDM solutions of only a decade ago.
For service providers, in addition to the end-to-end eco-sustainable benefits of the HLN architecture, this translates into:
- More performance for each dollar spent;
- The ability to grow as needed at marginal cost;
- CAPEX and OPEX benefits, and a lower TCO.
Research creates green opportunities
Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs green innovations and research are important sources of new eco-sustainable HLN solutions. Innovations in eco-sustainable networks and applications help service providers to realize bottom-line and top-line benefits while reducing their environmental footprint. Some examples include:
- Active Antenna Arrays that integrate signal processing, signal generation and the receiver directly into the antenna at the top of the cell site tower. This eliminates the RF feeder cables and significantly reduces energy loss and power consumption.
- Cooling that represents 30% to 50% of network energy consumption. The latest Bell Labs research into thermal management innovations includes new thermal-efficient three-dimensional heat sink designs and better airflow designs such as the vortex generator and research into liquid cooling, vapor chambers and heat harvesting.
New technologies and innovations in communication applications will also help end users reduce their carbon footprints in the future.
Modeling future power consumption savings
What kind of savings can the HLN deliver in terms of specifically reducing power versus deploying a non-aggregated alternative? In a recent study Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs investigated a typical HLN approach for a metro area of about 5.2 million people covering 3 key domains of the HLN architecture shown in Figure 1: converged aggregation, converged edge and the packet optical core components of the converged backbone.
The study found that the largest contribution to power reduction would come from the consolidation of facilities in a typical deployment of these 3 HLN domains over 5 years. This is based on the traffic aggregation, including the integration of wireline and wireless traffic onto an all-IP/optical backbone, at the network edge.
The findings also showed impressive savings in individual categories over the 5 years. For example, for aggregation of local services, a converged solution yields the following advantage over a non-converged solution:
- 70% reduction in cumulative operating expenses;
- 60 to 80 times less energy consumption annually.
In the Evolved Packet Core (EPC), the HLN approach could save up to 53% in yearly OPEX, including maintenance, space rental, air-conditioning, and operations/IT costs.
The HLN approach to transport could save 69% in power consumption and 75% in floor space due to increased density and efficiency at the packet transport layer. In addition, remote OA&M at the optical and IP layers could significantly reduce truck rolls and site visits.
The eco-sustainability benefit based on this Bell Labs study of a typical HLN approach is estimated to save 1.1 million kilowatt-hours per year in the 5th year. This would equate to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 566 metric tons of CO2 per year, or emissions comparable to driving 1.6 million kilometers in an economy class car.
Just the beginning
The HLN architecture applies network intelligence to create differentiated and eco-sustainable services. It enables a fundamental shift from keeping value in the network to extracting value from the network. The HLN supports the Alcatel-Lucent application enablement vision by allowing the intelligence embedded in the network to be exposed to applications in a controlled and managed way. This enables a myriad of new business models and opens doors to third-party application opportunities.
Application enablement that exploits the exposure of network functionality using an HLN approach will drive the next generation of value creation. The HLN architecture incorporates green principles at the design concept level, demonstrating that business growth and eco-sustainability can and should be mutually inclusive.
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