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Making "green" telecom real

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Emissions of pollutants are on the rise along with energy consumption. The International Energy Agency stated that, due to increased energy consumption during the period from 1973 to 2005, combined emissions rose by 68% and CO2 emissions by 73%.

There is currently a global concern about global warming caused specifically by the CO2 fueled greenhouse effect and the role that pollution plays in the weather and environment. Some scientists say global warming is also intensifying naturally extreme weather patterns like typhoons, floods, severe droughts, and changes in sea levels and marine biology. Therefore, "green" movement in the telecom industry is essential to us all.

Many governments worldwide including China have taken action to cut energy consumption and emissions. The "Eleventh Five-year Plan" proposes that by 2010, energy consumption should be reduced by around 20% and total emissions cut by 10%.

Telecom turns "green"

The energy consumed by core network equipment, power systems, switching/site offices, data centers, and equipment like mobile terminals take up an increasingly larger proportion in total energy consumption. The telecom industry has its share of social responsibility and the entire industry is striving to conserve energy and reduce emissions.

In 2007, China Mobile launched the "Green Action Plan" focusing on energy conservation and emission reduction, entering into a cooperative strategic agreement with Huawei, three other mobile telecom equipment vendors, and some mainstream accessory vendors.

They will set up a special joint work team, create a new cooperative model focused on energy conservation and emission reduction, and design a system with specified conservation and emission reduction indicators.

New technologies can minimize the amount, size and weight of equipment, will be more integrated and consume less energy. Cooperative in-depth research will be conducted in product design, R&D, production, testing, market demands and promotion. Selection of components and upstream raw materials suppliers for energy conservation and emission reduction, all lead ultimately to environmental protection and a superb team effort.

In the upcoming two or three years, substantial progress will be made. Consumption will be cut and resources utilized efficiently to form a green industrial chain and the Blue Ocean Strategy* (finding untapped market space) will be implemented throughout the entire industry.

"Green Huawei, Green Telecom, Green World"

Huawei's new slogan shows their commitment to actively participate in formulating and adhering to international environmental standards and regulations, research into energy conservation technology, and a focus on occupational health.

Huawei has built an end-to-end system to ensure environmentally-friendly telecom equipment. The evaluation of the effects of energy conservation and emission reduction through the entire life cycle from material procurement, design and production, and supply chain to operation and recycling is made possible by the system.

After making a detailed analysis of the energy consumption characteristics of mobile networks, Huawei proposed specific solutions covering three operational scenarios of mobile networks: green access, green core network (CN), and the "6R" strategy.

Green access

90% of energy consumption in the mobile network comes from wireless access. Equipment with high energy consumption also increases accessory power consumption and equipment room air conditioners, resulting in more consumption by the entire system.

The green BTS solution developed by Huawei is an integrated solution for reducing energy consumption from overall network planning and optimization to individual BTS planning and optimization.

The solution makes full use of gain enhancement technology such as PBT, transmitting diversity, AMR, 4-way RD, and high receiver sensitivity; it can improve signal coverage by 40% and reduce BTS construction by 30%, cutting total network energy consumption by 26%.

Huawei is a strong advocate of the All-IP network concept. A/lu interfaces over IP and whole network VoIP save as much as 60% of the transmission bandwidth and at least 40% of OPEX for mobile operators.

Huawei wireless access equipment supports the local switch. Combined with the MSC Pool technique, a large-capacity MSC can replace several ordinary MSCs, saving space in the equipment room. One success story is the Sichuan Mobile network in China that switched to large-capacity MSCs and now saves up to 80% compared to ordinary MSCs.

Huawei launched its own green BTS, controlling energy consumption from four aspects and solving the problem of high energy consumption by BTS equipment.

New power amplifier chips and the enhanced Doherty power amplifying technique were adopted for the BTS, raising the amplification efficiency to 45% from 33% in 2006. Efficiency is expected to exceed 50% in 2009.

Also, the carrier shutdown, time slot shutdown, and channel shutdown techniques are adopted in the green power conservation software, cutting down static energy consumption by more than 60%. The reduction during low-traffic hours is another big energy saver.

In addition, the high-density carrier and RF bandwidth techniques are adopted in the BTS. Thus, a single module can support four to six carriers. The new BTS, compared with the former BTS of the same capacity, is smaller in volume, lighter in weight, and has lower requirements for accessory facilities such as backup power.

The BBUs of the distributed BTS can be directly installed in the space reserved in the existing BTS equipment such as the Advanced Power Management (APM) and transmission cabinets, and RRUs can be affixed on poles, installed on the towers, or mounted to the walls.

The BTS is powered by non-polluting solar and wind energy. The wind and solar hybrid energy solution deployed by Huawei in Qinghai, China has supplied environmentally-friendly power for all of the BTSs around Qinghai Lake.

Huawei has also launched a series of thermal management solutions, including the combination of the integrated equipment room, intelligent ventilation, and single point temperature control, to meet the needs for different types of BTSs, solve energy problems, and utilize energy efficiently.

Green core network

Traditional CN architecture is complicated due to multiple layers and a large number of NEs, leading to high energy consumption for the entire network.

Traditional servers use a lot of power. With evolution of network technology, the network calls for more and more servers with an exponential spike in consumption. Another problem is that high temperatures are death to servers and needs to be considered when planning efficient thermal management in CN equipment rooms. Because more air conditioners are needed and the equipment room layout is unsuitable, lean thermal management of equipment rooms is hard to implement. Without energy saving servers it is impossible to take further conservation measures and reduce emissions.

To tackle these problems, Huawei delivered the green CN solution in order to optimize the CN architecture, reduce the network layers, minimize the number of NEs, and move the large CN equipment rooms to an upper layer. This saves energy and cuts OPEX. In addition, the highly integrated carrier-grade ATAE platform can be adopted step by step to replace the traditional servers, enhancing reliability and further reducing the amount of energy used by equipment. It is more resistant to higher temperature and equipment rooms can make better use of cold air and minimize the use of air conditioners.

The "6R" strategy

"Packaging and logistics technology innovation" is the core of the "6R" strategy as well as an important part of the "Green Action Plan" of China Mobile.

Huawei implements the "6R" strategy for green packaging and logistics in keeping with its promise on environmental protection.

The first two, Recovery & Recycle are aimed at recycling resources and energy through the application of environmentally-friendly and recyclable packaging materials.

Right & Reduce refers to using reasonable and right packaging design with small and lightweight cartons, cutting down on packaging and transportation costs.

Returnable & Reuse refers to the extension of the life cycle of packaging materials from the operations support system through an effective recycling system.

In a bid to build a green industrial chain with China Mobile and guided by the "6R" strategy, Huawei and China Mobile have developed a visual green packaging product—the returnable frame. Based on Huawei's annual shipping volume, after the "Green Action Plan" of China Mobile is implemented, 12,000 cubic meters of lumber, 2.70 million liters of petroleum, and 0.75 million kWh of power will be saved in addition to 6.172 million tons of CO2 emissions kept out of the atmosphere every year.

Huawei is striving to live up to its slogan, "Green Huawei, Green Telecom, and Green World". We only have one earth. Protect it for the common good and make all of our "green" dreams come true.

(* From the book, Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant, authored by W. Chan Kim.)

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