Research from Vertiv and STL Partners suggests key 5G challenges

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The joint research efforts of Vertiv and STL Partners have concluded that embracing best practices in their approach to efficiency and sustainability whilst partnering with customers will be key while moving forward with 5G networks



As 5G becomes one of the most transformative communications developments in a generationresearch by STL Partners and Vertiv has shown the practical challenges the development in 5G poses to telecommunications operators. 

Whilst 5G networks can be up to 90% more efficient, STL Partners and Vertiv's report suggests the increased density and network use will require more energy and reliance on IT systems and infrastructure. The report summarises that operators can address these problems in one of two ways: adopt energy efficient practices across their network, and/or encourage customers to adopt 5G-enabled services to reduce consumption and emissions

The report, 'Why Energy Management is Critical to 5G Success', estimates 5G traffic will overtake its predecessors (3G/4G) as early as 2025, making the sustainability of 5G networks an urgent priority. 40% of enterprises surveyed by the report suggests energy efficiency should be the first or second priorities of operators deploying 5G networks. 

Identifying the best practices operators can take to mitigate the increase of required energy and density of 5G networks across five areas:

- Network technology: deploy software and hardware focused on efficiency

- Facility infrastructure: consider new edge data centers to support cloud native IT and divert reliance on inernal IT systems and infrastructure

- Infrastructure management: measure, monitor, manage, improve and automate the network with the appropraite hardware and software

- Organisation and evaluation: take a full lifecycle view of costs and investments when considering 5G networks

- Working with others: embrace innovation and non-traditional commercial models, standards and collaborations

Scott Armul, vice president for global DC power and outside plant at Vertiv, explained: “Telecom operators making meaningful energy and cost reductions are doing so by evaluating the entire ecosystems around their network operations – people, objectives, infrastructure and partners. Because of the reliance on IT to enable 5G applications, a high degree of collaboration will be required across operators, OEMs and infrastructure providers, and customers to ensure deployments are optimized and every possible efficiency is pursued.”

The report clarifies that network efficiency and best practices are just a piece of the 5G energy puzzle; these efforts must be combined with a holistic approach to curbing energy use and emissions. 

Director at STL Partners, Phil Laidler, added, “Operators are deploying 5G networks to grow new revenues. This growth will come from new connectivity and applications enabling operators’ customers’ own transformation journeys. To be credible, informed partners for their customers, operators must lead by example. Energy strategy is a great place to start.”  

The report also marks out the industries that could potentially benefit from 5G developments. Manufacturing stands to achieve US$730 billion worth of benefits in the next decade by using 5G; transportation and logistics could reap US$280 billion of benefits; healthcare could see improved access for up to 1 billion patients. 

The report includes ways telecommunications operators can lead customers towards 5G in sustainable ways, and can be found here


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