Page 55 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2016 publication
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Winter 2016 European Energy Innovation      55

                                                                                                           5G COMMUNICATION

characteristics will need to satisfy                                       35
a plethora of different, often quite
unrelated, demands. This time it is not     Traffic in exabytes per month  30
simply about raising the data capacity                                                                                                                                                    30.6
(though that will be important of
course) but also about supporting new                                      25
communication use cases.
                                                                           20 21.7
The emergence of the Internet of
Things (IoT), in particular, will have                                     15                                                      14.9
major implications, with many IoT                                                                               9.9
deployments having their own distinct                                      10                6.2
set of requirements. Remote sensor
nodes, responsible for monitoring a                                         5                2016*  2017*  2018*                         2019*  2020*
certain parameter in smart cities for                                                   3.7
example, or industrial M2M terminals,
may need the massive connectivity that                                      0
5G affords, but a high data rate will not                                             2015
be of great value in this context. One
of the most significant factors here will   Figure 1: Global Mobile Traffic in Exabytes/Month [Source: Cisco]
be keeping the power consumption
to an absolute minimum. These sensor        The implementation of massive MIMO                             design. This will allow operators to
nodes will only be operational for          (multiple-input, multiple-output)                              obtain the system-wide energy savings
a very small proportion of the time         transmission techniques will also prove                        they need.
and the data they need to transmit          to be advantageous – compensating
will be very modest. 5G must be             path loss and enabling stronger signals                        As an organisation working to define
able to accommodate the minimal             while consuming less energy. This,                             global standards that enable more
throughput and irregular connectivity       along with adaptive beamforming,                               productive and environmentally
that characterises this type of use         could help to counter the limited range                        sustainable technology developments,
case, while operating within the power      of mm wavelength transmission (which                           ETSI is focussing closely on energy
constraints of sensor nodes whose           will begin to be employed to boost                             efficiency within the next generation
batteries must last up to 15 years.         data rates). Having enhanced the power                         communication networks. ETSI has
                                            performance of the underlying network                          recently embarked on an investigation
NEW NETWORK STRUCTURES                      technology, there will subsequently                            into possible new metrics for energy
The way that 5G networks are                be an opportunity to make greater use                          efficiency within 5G systems. The
constructed will be essentially different   of alternative energy sources, such                            results are due to be published
from the approach of previous               as photovoltaics, to supplement the                            in a Technical Report towards the
generations. These new networks will        conventional power supply.                                     end of 2017. Meanwhile, 3GPP has
rely much more on the deployment                                                                           been actively involved in a study of
of pico, femto or moving cells, which       5G needs to furnish operators with                             energy efficiency of mobile networks
will effectively mean that the user is      a business model that is sustainable                           taking in the implications of various
brought a lot closer to the point of        in terms of the financial investment                           deployment scenarios, operating
transmission and the power needed to        required and the day-to-day running                            conditions and coordinated energy
transmit the signal will consequently be    costs, as well as in relation to its long                      saving between different parts of the
lowered. Utilisation of the Cloud is also   term effect on the environment – so                            network. ETSI and 3GPP are also heavily
expected to be of great importance.         that international legislative guidelines                      engaged in determining the exact
Virtualization of network functions         can be met. The technical obstacles                            system architecture and functional
promises to deliver both increased          that operators face in respect to power                        requirements of the 5G standard and
flexibility and efficiency. This will mean  efficiency will be challenging but                             methods of monitoring and controlling
that rather than transmission being the     are not insurmountable. Improved                               power consumption will be at the heart
dominant component of overall power         energy efficiency needs to be a                                of this. l
consumption, there will be a shift to the   consideration of each constituent part
more manageable computational power         of the proposed network technology,                              Contact details:
dimension (though this will also present    covering everything from how the
the industry with certain challenges).      system architecture is implemented                     
                                            right through to facets of functional
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