Transforming the mobile communication industry - Meet one of our experts on Network Energy Performance for 5G.

As one of the master researchers at Ericsson Research I have been invited to tell you about what I do. I work with energy performance, and the target is to reduce energy consumption in mobile networks. This is a real challenge because we also have to continue to provide higher data rates and more services to more people and devices. Energy performance covers a very broad technical area, and to reach our goal we will all need to start considering how different concepts, specifications and products affect total network energy consumption.

You may have heard that Ericsson Research has been an important contributor in this area, in particular through the research we did in the EU EARTH project. I am very proud of what my colleagues and I, as technical manager, managed to achieve there. We identified the relevant challenges for energy savings in radio access networks and developed a number of concepts which are now becoming Ericsson product features. However, the most important contribution to the work was probably the EARTH energy efficiency evaluation framework (E3F).

Why Energy performance is exciting

Energy performance is a complex area, which gives me many opportunities to learn new things and have interesting technical discussions with colleagues across many different areas of expertise. As is the case for any performance measure, many links make up a whole chain and all links have to be in place – and hold – to get the desired result. Furthermore, industry must widen its focus beyond high capacity to also consider the low traffic case, which is actually the most common case in mobile network. I sometimes think really good engineers may be distinguished by their ability to go out of their comfort zone and take on new challenges, such as reduced network energy consumption.

Personal reflection – Standardization work

There are many great engineers and researchers at Ericsson, and I have had the privilege to get to know some of them personally, in particular during the years I worked in and travelled with our 3GPP-standardization team. This time also introduced me to Asia and made me fall in love with Japan, which I still visit regularly. Last year I spent two weeks in Okinawa. I hope to be able to return to Japan soon – maybe it’s time for Tohoku this time.

The next challenge – Energy Performance in 5G

Achieving high energy performance requires many different disciplines to work together, and it’s essential to get everybody to see how their piece will fit better in the big picture. So for 5G, we have formulated a couple of design principles: "To only be active when and where needed" and, for radio access networks in particular, "to only transmit when and where needed". The key technologies to only transmit when needed will be what we call ultra-lean transmission. And the primary tool to only transmit where needed will consist of different types of beam forming techniques.

On the core-network side, our primary tool for high energy performance will be virtualization and network slicing. This will allow for multiple virtual core networks to be packed on the same physical hardware. That way, resource utilization can be improved and different types of energy-saving modes may be applied more often.

Biography: Dr Ylva Jading

  • M.Sc. in Engineering Physics from Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from the University of Mainz, Germany
  • Master Researcher employed by Ericsson since 1999
  • Product development of 2G and 3G technologies
  • Strategy and portfolio management for energy performance
  • Standardization delegate in the 3GPP RAN Working Group 1
  • Technical manager of the EU FP7 EARTH project for RAN Energy Efficiency
  • She has also published a number of scientific papers and holds more than 20 patents