Call for metering solutions to reach net-zero emission targets

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) has published its fourth Green Future Networks White Paper: ‘Metering for Sustainable Networks‘, which calls for metering solutions as an important step for operators to reach net-zero emission targets.

For operators, the reduction of power consumption has been identified as an essential aspect to achieve net-zero emission targets by 2050 or before, and to reduce their operational expenses as well. An accurate metering system, therefore, is a prerequisite to making sure that energy consumption can be properly monitored, measured, and optimised.

The NGMN White Paper outlines the metering goals in different parts of mobile networks and the advantages that can be realised with the implementation of metering solutions.

With much of the energy being consumed in the radio networks, particularly base stations, metering solutions have the biggest immediate impact on radio networks. The growing number of sites is another aspect that should not be neglected. The new White Paper mainly focuses on base station equipment and their technical sites.

All insights and recommendations given in the White Paper are also applicable to other parts of the mobile network – including core networks, data centres, and backhaul.

Laurent Leboucher, SVP Orange Innovation Networks, Orange, and Member of the NGMN Board said: “We, like NGMN, are asking equipment manufacturers to share architectures and communication protocols to improve the measurements of the energy consumption in base stations, being the most energy-consuming part of mobile networks. Our request also applies to all other equipment in the network. Accurate metering solutions are absolutely essential to operators – to make progress on energy efficiency, measuring is essential. This will contribute to our net-zero targets and also to reducing networks operational expenses.”

The proposed recommendations for metering solutions assume a unified architecture of a metering system and data collection at the site level, for application by operators, thus enabling deployment with low effort. The White Paper covers different use cases and operating models, different topologies of sites including sites owned by one operator, site sharing between different operators, tower companies, and RAN sharing scenarios as well.

Another NGMN recommendation is to collaborate with standard developing organisations (SDOs), to create a uniform and more sustainable metering solution for mobile networks by standardising parameters to be measured, data collection methods, interfaces, and communication protocols. Furthermore, it is important to establish an interface between network operators and network equipment suppliers, including manufacturers and vendors.

With these requirements to the industry, NGMN has achieved another milestone in its Green Future Networks Project. The White Paper rounds off Phase 1 of NGMN’s Green Future Networks Project, with work beginning on Phase 2 to follow in 2022.

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