Operators wasting £313 million a year on base stations

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Research suggests networks can save millions by powering down sites during quiet periods

Operators could save up to £313 million a year by “powering down” their base stations during quiet traffic times, research suggests.

According to network management solutions provider Arieso, operators have increased their base station count in densely populated urban areas in recent times in order to meet higher demands for both voice and data.

However Arieso chief technology officer Michael Flanagan says they have over looked the fact that demand drops off during periods such as early morning or late at night.

This, Flanagan says means large numbers of base stations continue to generate signal that is not being used which results in a total of over 3.5 billion KWh of electricity being ‘wasted’ each year.

“It’s well understood that energy consumption makes up a major portion of operator OPEX, and powering down base stations to reduce this has been discussed in the industry for some time,” Flanagan says.

Now, according to Flanagan, new software from Arieso allows operators to monitor the real world impact of data and voice calls in precise locations and determines their effects on overall network performance.

This can then be used to stimulate network capacity requirements and identify exactly which base stations can be powered down without negatively impacting user experience.

Flanagan says: “Self-optimising networks have an important role to play in power saving. However, the challenge of knowing how and when to save power safely, without affecting the user experience, has not been met.

“Understanding the detail of when and, more importantly, where subscribers are using – or not using – the network is central to making these choices and realising the savings.”

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