As mobile networks expand to reach new markets, and existing network traffic rises, growth must be managed to achieve better energy performance. We develop solutions that enable operator networks to use as little energy as possible while managing expected growth in data traffic; meeting the needs of both current and future 5G networks.
Performance of products and solutions is a priority for the industry. For us, this means building energy-efficient networks that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The radio access network (RAN) consumes the most energy and is, therefore, a key focus for energy performance improvements.
Operators need to balance their investments across all technologies to make the most efficient use of available radio spectrum while delivering more consistent network performance and high-quality user experience everywhere. Our focus is, therefore, to help operators expand their networks in the most energy-efficient way.
More on how we are driving energy performance in 5G and addressing the installed based in our latest Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report. Please refer to the chapter named “Energy, Environment and Climate Action”.
Breaking the energy curve
Ericsson develops innovative products and solutions that enable the mobile industry to meet current and future traffic demands while simultaneously addressing the energy and climate challenge.
With changing usage patterns and data consumption growing, networks need to be fit for today and for what’s next. Our goal is to enable cost-efficient upgrade paths from 2G all the way to 5G. We help customers to “break the energy curve” as we move toward 5G by driving energy performance improvements in standards. We also develop energy-optimized products, solutions and services both for 5G and for the current installed base.
We do this in a systematic way that goes beyond focusing only on a product’s low energy consumption. We consider how customers’ current and future network performance requirements for application coverage can be met with the lowest possible energy use. This integrated approach addresses the whole network including hardware, software, and site dimensions, and considers both the network modernization and installed base.
By modernizing the mobile network with the latest portfolio of products and solutions, it is possible for operators to not only reduce energy consumption, but also gain access to the latest functionality, future-proof their investments and reduce costs.
Our research shows that a major part of energy consumption in mobile networks comes from the radio access network (RAN), dominated by the radio base station sites. We continuously make investments to improve the energy performance of our offerings, as the following two examples from our modular Ericsson Radio System (ERS) show.
- Multi-standard radio units: these industry-leading radio units are 50% more energy efficient than legacy products, with a multi-standard, multi-band and multi-layer architecture, on the smallest site footprint.
- Multi-standard baseband: our 5G-ready multi-standard baseband supports Massive IoT, LTE, WCDMA, GSM, and Transport Connectivity simultaneously on a single board. The baseband replaces four boards in the previous generation while supporting the same capacity with more than 50% energy savings.
Our RAN energy-saving software features for 2G, 3G and 4G can be broadly used across both modernized and legacy hardware to take advantage of traffic variations during the day. Our software makes it possible to enable savings on a network level across all RAN generations; up to 15% of the overall energy consumption.
Energy performance targets
We are committed to developing and delivering solutions that support climate action by continuing to address energy and CO2e aspects in our own operations, our portfolio and our installed base, as well as further investigating our ability to offset carbon emissions in society. Based on this, we have set the following ambitious energy performance targets:
- As part of our approved “Science Based Targets”, Ericsson commits to 35% of energy saving in Ericsson Radio System (ERS) versus legacy portfolio baseline 2016 (RBS 6000) by 2022.
- Ericsson will continue to innovate to allow for alternative energy sources to be economically feasible in 25% of the total installed base of an operator, thereby reducing diesel consumption significantly by 2020.
- Ericsson will strive to ensure that the 5G product portfolio shall be ten times more energy efficient (per transferred data) than current 4G by 2022 (baseline 2017).