The fifth and newest generation of the cellular network known as 5G has started rolling out around the globe and to selected parts of major cities within Australia. Offering faster download speeds, lower latency, and a more reliable connection, it also brings several new energy-saving features that play a transformative role towards a more sustainable future.
Designed to be 90% more energy efficient than the previous generations, while managing more data traffic, 5G provides opportunities which help to reduce the energy consumption per bit of information transported. Let’s find out how this is done.
Base stations are responsible for up to 80% of the energy consumed in cellular networks overall. Unlike prior network technologies that use the same amount of energy regardless of how much data they are delivering, 5G stations have been designed with Sleep Mode where the hardware components are switched off to reduce energy consumption by 50%. This mode is activated when data traffic demands are low or non-existent and alerts the base station to transition into a low-energy mode without interfering with the connection for individual users who still need to receive data. A perfect example; could be a park, during the day it is busy with people at lunch and walking their dogs who need to answer calls and emails however at night no one is around apart from two late night runners who want to stream running music. Prior technologies would still use the same amount of energy to deliver any data to this area, however, 5G would be in a partial sleep mode and would only use the energy which is needed to directly target those two people.
5G base stations consist of five new technology’s which operate together to increase the speed of data delivery and decrease latency and traffic capacity. By using small cells, massive MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), beamforming, and full-duplex 5G deliver a highly-targeted data signal through the use of more antennas on each port and with one beam which can serve many users at once. The major advantage of 5G is that the beamforming technology used by Massive MIMO identifies the most efficient data-delivery route to a user while reducing interference for other users in the process. This means that the beams are not operating for as long to find users but targeting them directly which allows for the base stations to have more time in sleep mode.
5G’s ability to be energy-efficient won’t only change how telecom networks approach sustainability but will also be pivotal in changing the transportation, security, entertainment, agriculture, and health industries. With its new technology giving it the ability to deliver better connectivity between devices and deliver faster data transfers, it will bring possibilities such as the operation of autonomous, self-driving vehicles, remote surgeries completed from thousands of miles away between patient and surgeon, and live concert events that you can attend from the comfort of your living room through wearable technology.
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5G rolling out to selected areas of major Australian cities. 5G Home Broadband is only available in selected coverage areas. Modem non-return fee may apply. T&Cs apply.