Nokia tackles a critical telco challenge – energy efficiency in the RAN

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

  • Power efficiency is an ever more critical challenge for telcos
  • Radio access networks are becoming more distributed and dense
  • But power consumption and carbon emissions need to be cut
  • Nokia wants to help reduce telco energy bills with an AI-enabled solution

New telecoms products don’t often warrant a big fanfare but, occasionally, there is either an innovation or an area of focus that needs to be highlighted and that’s the case today with Nokia’s AVA Energy Efficiency service.

You can read what Nokia has to say about this cloud-based energy management service in this press release, in which it claims that some (as yet unidentified) network operators are already using the service. 

What’s important is the focus and the effort. Finding as many ways as possible to reduce the power-per-bit transported over networks is critical to operating expenses and also so that telcos can meet their sustainability goals, which as we discovered during the Great Telco Debate are becoming increasingly strategically important. (See Sustainability as a business reality: not just a CSR tick-box exercise.)

Is Nokia alone in tackling this from the vendor side of the fence? Absolutely not (thank goodness). But it has hundreds of network operator customers, so it has the reach and relationships to actually make a difference (and make some money of course) if its service is effective.

These kinds of developments are particularly important as 5G networks are rolled out, as they are going to be more distributed and dense than any previous generation of cellular architecture and every means possible needs to be explored to ensure there isn’t an exponential increase in power consumption alongside a densification of the network. 

This Nokia announcement follows from a recent study it did with Telefónica on the energy efficiency potential of 5G networks. 

From what I can tell, this service appears to apply to the radio access network, which is very useful in itself of course. But could this applied to the full network? Indeed, to a telco’s complete operations? UPDATE: The vendor says "at this stage, the scope is limited to radio access but Nokia’s plan is to extend this in 2021 to include both fixed networks and data centres, as some of the principles are easily extended across technology domains."

This is a key topic for 2021 and beyond: If you have an energy-saving product or strategy you think could help enlighten the rest of the industry, then please let us know by emailing me at [email protected]

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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