Slash costs, build next-gen networks

Navin Vohra
27 Apr 2012
Daily News

Involvement in the world’s best communication networks give some distinct insights on how a company can reduce their running costs and better deploy networks to capitalize on the substantial mobile data opportunity. For example, by introducing technologies that increase network efficiency and reduce opex, it is possible to offset portions of the capex required to build next-generation networks.

Operators also need to ensure a smooth 4G rollout to avoid the same issues experienced during the last major network upgrade from 2G to 3G, where many deployments were delayed, cancelled, or limited to a sparse range of hotspots for long periods of time. Not only does this create a substandard experience for users, but also limits operators’ ability to maximize their ROI.

The quickest way for an operator to reduce opex is to look at proven methodologies such as energy consumption and maintenance efficiencies. For example, efficient energy consumption not only reduces carbon emissions, it also makes good financial sense. There are a multitude of proven, high-performance technologies that can reduce base station power consumption by as much as 40%.

One of the biggest opportunities to reduce an operator’s energy bill is to phase out the use of diesel back-up power generators in favor of hydrogen fuel cells. On average, the maintenance cost of fuel cells is 77% lower than diesel generators and the operational cost is 37% lower. In addition, fuel cells take up roughly 50% less space on site, which can help to reduce leasing costs.

Another opportunity to improve energy efficiency is to improve base station cooling systems, which typically consume 30% of all energy that base stations use. CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis and proven field trials have shown that alternative cooling techniques such as free-air cooling and hybrid cooling can reduce overall site power consumption by 20-25%.

Many other solutions can help to make incremental energy efficiency improvements such as optimized repeater placements, more efficient power rectifiers and smooth walled cabling that provides better attenuation.

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