European plan to halve 4G energy consumption

A group of 15 telecommunications service providers, component and infrastructure vendors, and academic institutions want to halve the energy consumption of  4G networks.

The idea is to reduce the carbons emissions of the ICT sector, and so make it possible to make mobile broadband widely available in a sustainable way. Cost savings due to energy savings should also help make it economically viable for operators to bring mobile broadband to rural areas of existing markets and to developing markets.

The Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies (EARTH) consortium is coordinated by Alcatel-Lucent, which was also the driving force behind the GreenTouch consortium, a more broadly drawn effort to cut the energy consumption of communications networks.

Other members include Ericsson as technical manager, NXP Semiconductors France, DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe, Telecom Italia, CEA, University of Surrey, Technische Universität Dresden, imec, IST-Technical University of
Lisbon, University of Oulu, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, TTI, and ETSI.

EARTH is taking a similar approach to the GreenTouch consortium, considering the energy efficiency of mobile networks at a  system level rather than focusing on individual network elements. The consortium will study wireless networks, components, and radio interfaces and hopes to use its findings to develop energy-efficient network equipment and components,
create energy-oriented deployment strategies, and conceive energy-aware approaches to network management.

The EARTH project is funded under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program (FP7).

Dr Rainer Fechner, head of Bell Labs in Germany and member of the management board, Alcatel-Lucent in Germany, said: “What makes EARTH so compelling is that it has the potential to deliver tangible benefits to society on a number of levels: reducing energy consumption of networks and their impact on the environment while making broadband wireless service available to a greater number of people in Europe.”

Jan Färjh, head of Ericsson Research, says: “When taking into account the rapid increase in data communication, it is of vital importance that the industry continues to focus on solutions that are technically feasible and implementable in the near term to address this growth and keep energy consumption at a minimum.”

The EARTH  project will last until June 2012.

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