Reducing RAN Energy Costs

Macro site cooling is becoming an issue moving ahead. As it turns out, energy is the real issue. Utility bills have become a huge expense. Why? Did you look at your own bill lately? Mine shot up over 20% over the past 2 years, and I don’t see it going down. Think about that. I am just paying for my home, no data room, no radios, and normal heating and cooling.

At a site, there is so much equipment that sucks down huge amounts of electricity. A macro site has more to do than ever before. I think people outside the industry imagine we just update the radio or add a new radio, it’s way more than that. There is more equipment at a site than ever before, using more channels, spectrum, and bandwidth at all the carrier sites. More than ever in telecom history.

While 5G equipment is more efficient, the additional equipment uses more power. The equipment uses less energy per bit but the bandwidth went way up, from 20MHz/site to over 100MHz/site at major carriers’ sites. More bits mean more energy, and that means higher electric bills.

The OEMs have done a good job at making the radios more efficient, but they need electricity to do all the functions they’re asked to do.

The two critical things at every site are the utilities - power and backhaul.

Also, think about what equipment is at a macro site. It has radios, BBUs, rectifiers, routers, switches, possibly servers, muxes, fans, air conditioners, cameras, lights, telco interfaces, and security systems. Even more which I am missing.

In other words, there is a lot of crap to power in a macro site.

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