As ICT infrastructure evolves from 5G to 5.5G and from F5G to F5.5G, green networks gauged by the Network Carbon data/energy intensity (NCIe) indicator of network carbon emission intensity will also become an important part of the target network, said Philip Song, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Carrier BG, addressing the keynote, “Developing Green ICT Infrastructure with Optimal Energy Efficiency” at Win-Win Huawei Innovation Week.
According to IRENA, energy efficiency improvement can contribute to more than 40 percent of the total carbon emissions reduction. Thus energy efficiency improvement is one of the most effective ways for operators to achieve green development, said Song.
In order to build a green network systematically, operators need to strike a balance between traffic growth and carbon emission reduction. To reduce the carbon emission of an equipment unit, the focus should be on equipment energy efficiency and renewable power generation efficiency. Meanwhile, to achieve green targets in cross-site collaboration scenarios, improvements in network architecture and forwarding efficiency will be the best way forward, Song added.
On the O&M front, operators need to develop policies dedicated to energy efficiency improvement, including policies for user operation, energy-saving policy generation and release, and energy efficiency indicator management.
Energy efficiency management solutions and criteria are needed at all levels ranging from a site, cross-site, cross-domain, to the entire network. An indicator system that can be managed and optimized is required.
Song also highlighted the issues facing the traditional wireless site. “A major problem of a traditional wireless site is high consumption by auxiliary equipment, which affects the effective energy utilization of main equipment. An indoor equipment room is a case in point. Power loss caused by air conditioners, low-efficiency power supplies and even power cables takes a heavy toll on energy efficiency of the entire site,” Song said.
According to him, the best method to improve Site Energy Efficiency (SEE) is to reduce the consumption of auxiliary equipment.
Further, the low-level of integration and low energy efficiency of traditional networks crop up as challenges as network evolves.
Also, risks associated with power supply in traditional networks need to be addressed on priority. Currently, carriers have only one power source—the main power supply. Their carbon emission reduction progress relies on the energy structure of the main power supply, causing risks to Emission Factor (EF) of the site, Song added.
To help operators meet the above requirements, Huawei has released the green development solutions, which contain 1 indicator system and a 3-layer architecture solution.
Huawei has adopted a fully outdoor approach to address the power losses of auxiliary facilities. Traditional equipment rooms are replaced with outdoor cabinets, and air conditioners are removed wherever possible, leading to significant power savings in the range of 60 percent to 90 percent.
Further, outdoor cabinets are replaced with blade power supply units installed on poles. This makes natural heat dissipation possible. As power units are getting closer to RF units, there will be less cable losses, further increasing SEE from 90 percent to 97 percent, according to Song.
Huawei’s single blade power supply unit can provide world-leading output power, which means one blade can support one frequency band, one RAT, and one site. In other words, one blade power supply unit can simultaneously support 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. The SEE can reach as high as 97 percent.
Huawei also adopts highly integrated ultra-wideband modules and multi-band antenna technology that can integrate multiple modules at a site, eliminating the need for cables within antennas. This translates into zero cable losses and boosts TEE.
Further, Huawei makes use of renewable energy to help address the challenges associated with single power source. Huawei’s flexible PV panels are an improvement over traditional rooftop solar solution. They can be installed four times faster than traditional solutions, enabling significant savings in the cost of installation.
To address the unstable solar power generation, Huawei has developed an intelligent solar storage optimization solution that can automatically adjust power storage. Excess power generated on sunny days can be stored and used together with mains and batteries on cloudy days. Compared with traditional solutions, this solution can generate 25 percent more power, Song said.
A trial in in Guiyang, Guizhou, has revealed that when cabinets are replaced with blade power supply units, SEE grew and reduced the annual carbon emissions by 4.3 tons. Another site at Jinhua, Zhejiang, where traditional indoor air-conditioned facility is moved to an outdoor blade power supply unit with all auxiliary facilities kept outdoors making natural heat dissipation possible, there was 18 percent increase in SEE.
Huawei has also adopted an all-optical, simplified, and intelligent network model to address the challenges associated with network efficiency. The move from electrical switching to all-optical switching, leads to 10-fold increase in energy efficiency. As copper cables are replaced with optical fiber, there will a 5-fold improvement in energy efficiency.
There are innovations aimed at simplifying the architecture too. Earlier one router used to contain multiple sub-racks, and now, only one sub-rack is required. Also with SDH modernization, one sub-rack is required for each site. The bandwidth per fiber can increase from 10 Gbit/s to 16 Tbit/s, greatly improving NEE. All of these improvements have simplified the network infrastructure.
To make the green network intelligent, Huawei’s routers allow for dynamic and intelligent hibernation and automatically adjust the NP forwarding frequency based on tidal traffic patterns.
On the operations front, Huawei suggests the use of more energy-efficient radio access technologies, currently 5G. Also the use of network traffic management and analytics will help regulate energy consumption. The energy efficiency indicators must be visible, manageable, and optimizable.
For example, Huawei’s energy management platform, NetEco, can visualize energy consumption and energy efficiency of every site. Users can even create optimization policies, like selecting the top 100 low-efficiency sites for further optimization aiming at improved energy efficiency for the entire network.
Huawei’s network management solution NCE supports real-time and historical energy consumption visibility, energy consumption analysis for the last 48 hours, energy saving benefit prediction, energy efficiency ratio trend analysis, carbon report, and energy saving policy delivery. With the intelligent hibernation technology, NCE automatically detects idle resources and shuts them down to reduce power consumption. In future, the solution will support dynamic frequency modulation and other mind-blowing technologies to further reduce consumption, helping operators achieve low-carbon targets, Song said.
Currently, Huawei is working with Beijing Unicom to further innovate intelligent hibernation, he added.