Energy efficiency in wireless: RAN and beyond

Sustainability is an opportunity to decrease costs without compromising network performance

Are energy efficiency, net-zero emissions and sustainability just greenwashing and hype? We hope not, because we need them to preserve our environment and our lives on the planet. They can also make wireless networks more efficient and reduce costs.  

In wireless, we have the responsibility and the privilege to be a force of good by optimizing energy use in our networks and enabling energy efficiency in other verticals and in society through connectivity to people and things.

Measuring and optimizing energy efficiency is fiendishly complicated – yet intellectually fascinating – because there are multiple complementary ways to improve it and because performance and quality of service cannot be compromised to reduce energy consumption. As traffic and service expectations increase, we are asking our networks to do more with less.

We have to abandon the traditional approach that energy bills are a fixed cost item over which we have little or no control and that networks need to run at all times at capacity to be ready for peak time. Energy consumption can be managed, and operators are increasingly doing so with the help of new and old technology, automation and AI/ML.

In this report and the conversations that follow it, we look at how we can improve energy efficiency in wireless. We look at energy efficiency in the RAN, where most energy is used, but also in the rest of the network. We look at how to measure energy efficiency and benchmark it. We look at how different choices – e.g., open or traditional RAN, virtualization, chipsets, centralized/distributed architectures, indoor/outdoor infrastructure, cellular/Wi-Fi access – may affect energy efficiency. And, finally, we look at how wireless can make the rest of the economy and society more energy efficient.

The report includes conversations with Wind River, Deutsche Telekom, CommScope, Satellite Applications Catapult, VMware, ConnectiviTree, Fujitsu, Intel and Keysight.  

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Conversations in the report

Taking energy efficiency indoors: DAS, small cells and Wi-Fi

Upendra Pingle, SVP, Intelligent Cellular Networks at CommScope

Measuring energy efficiency in Open RAN and traditional RAN

Giampaolo Tardioli, General Manager and Vice President, and Jean Dassonville, Strategy Planner at Keysight

Energy efficiency in an open, virtualized and disaggregated RAN

Rob Hughes, Head of Wireless Marketing at Fujitsu Network Communications

A holistic approach to energy efficiency and sustainability

Cristina Rodriguez, Vice President, Wireless Access Network Division, and Alex Quach, Vice President, Wireline and Core Networking Division, at Intel

Energy efficiency starts in the cloud

Lorcan Burke, Global Field CTO, Communications Service Provider at VMware

Energy efficiency in the distributed, open cloud: Wind River’s 360-degree approach

Nicola Marziliano, Vice President of International Telco Sales, Wind River

Energy efficiency and resilience

Dr. Mike Short, Chief Architect at Satellite Applications Catapult Communications

Infrastructure sharing for energy efficiency

Mark Gilmour, CTO, ConnectiviTree

Will Open RAN increase the energy efficiency in the RAN?

Alex Choi, Senior Vice President at Deutsche Telekom and Chairman at the O-RAN Alliance, and Gorden Witzel, Senior Partner Manager, Vendor Strategy Access at Deutsche Telekom

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Previews of the report conversations


Wind River





Satellite Applications Catapult

Deutsche Telekom


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