In this video John gives an overview of the Green Radio research project which studies new approaches to save energy in future wireless and mobile phone networks.
Recent analysis by manufacturers and network operators has shown that current wireless networks are not very energy efficient, particularly the base stations by which terminals access services from the network. In response to this observation the Mobile Virtual Centre of Excellence (VCE) Green Radio project was established in 2009 to establish how significant energy savings may be obtained in future wireless systems. This project involves participants from several UK Universities and Companies, including the Institute for Digital Communications at the University of Edinburgh.
Given the worldwide growth in the number of mobile subscribers, the move to higher data rate mobile broadband and the increasing contribution of information technology to the overall energy consumption of the world, there is a need on environmental grounds to reduce the energy requirements of radio access networks. A typical mobile phone network in the United Kingdom may consume approximately 40-50 megawatts (MW), even excluding the power consumed by the users’ handsets. In developing countries direct electricity connections are not readily available, so powering a network of base stations becomes even more challenging.
Mobile communications thus contributes a significant proportion of the total energy consumed by the information technology industry. From an operator’s perspective, reducing energy consumption will also translate to lower operating expenditure (OPEX) costs.
Reducing carbon emissions and OPEX for wireless cellular networks are two key reasons behind the development of the Mobile VCE Green Radio programme. For example, the UK operators Orange and Vodafone both aim to achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the next ten years. The Green Radio programme sets the aspiration of achieving a significant reduction in power consumption over current designs for wireless communication networks. This challenge is rendered non-trivial by the requirement to achieve this reduction without significantly compromising the Quality of Service (QoS) experienced by the network’s users. In order to meaningfully measure success, appropriate measures of energy consumption must be applied. For example, a reduction in radiated power is not of benefit if it is achieved at the expense of a greater increase in power consumed in signal processing or vice versa.
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