A group of 15 leading telecommunications service providers, component and infrastructure vendors and academic institutions have launched “EARTH” (Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies), a consortium whose goal is to achieve a 50% reduction in the energy consumption of 4th Generation (4G) mobile wireless communication networks within the next two-and-a-half years.
The industry-driven EARTH consortium draws on the diverse and complementary expertise of its members. The consortium’s members belong to the following corporations and institutions:
Alcatel-Lucent (Project Coordinator), Ericsson (Technical Manager), NXP Semiconductors France, DOCOMO Communications Laboratories Europe GmbH, Telecom Italia S.p.A., CEA, University of Surrey, Technische Universität Dresden, imec, IST- Technical University of Lisbon, University of Oulu, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, TTI, ETSI.
EARTH will adopt an approach that considers the energy efficiency of mobile networks at a comprehensive system level rather than focusing on discrete network elements. The consortium members will research approaches to allow for unprecedented energy savings in the area of wireless networks, their components, and its radio interfaces. Based on this, EARTH will develop a new generation of energy-efficient network equipment and components, craft energy-oriented deployment strategies, and conceive energy-aware network management solutions.
The EARTH initiative supports the European Union’s Work Programme for Information and Communication Technologies under the objective “Network of the Future”, which has the goal to realize the new generation of telecom infrastructure, network and Internet technologies. The project is funded within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) that seeks to play a crucial role in achieving goals of growth, competitiveness and employment by bundling all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof.
Dr. Rainer Fechner, head of Bell Labs in Germany and member of the management board, Alcatel-Lucent in Germany, says: “What makes EARTH so compelling is that it has the potential to deliver tangible benefits to society on a number of levels: reducing energy consumption of networks and their impact on the environment while making broadband wireless service available to a greater number of people in Europe. The value of our contribution derives from deep experience and innovations in both green technology and advanced wireless systems.”
Jan Färjh, head of Ericsson Research, says: “Ericsson is pleased to be part of this industry-wide research program aiming to substantially increase the network energy efficiency for a new generation of mobile broadband reaching the global market in the next couple of years. When taking into account the rapid increase in data communication, it is of vital importance that the industry continues to focus on solutions that are technically feasible and implementable in the near term to address this growth and keep energy consumption at a minimum.”
The energy efficiency improvements the consortium expects to achieve will contribute to a reduction in the CO2 emissions of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector and support implementation of broadband wireless services in an environmentally sustainable manner. Moreover, the consortium’s initiatives have the potential to foster the universal availability of broadband infrastructure in Europe, and globally, by yielding a level of cost savings for mobile operators significant enough to reduce the economical barriers that impede the larger-scale deployment of broadband services into rural areas of existing markets as well as emerging markets.
The EARTH research project was launched in January 2010 and will last until June 2012. The kick-off took place in January in Stuttgart, Germany on the premises of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.