Nokia, Intel Partner for Software, Chip Updates for 5G Energy Savings

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by | Feb 26, 2024

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Nokia is collaborating with Intel to make energy efficiency improvements within power-intensive 5G networks, helping communication service providers reduce electricity usage and save on energy costs.

Nokia’s 5G core technology, integrated with Intel’s Xeon processors and power management software, allows for about 40% runtime power savings while maintaining network performance, according to the companies. The technology works by modulating chip power to reflect varying traffic, which fluctuates considerably throughout a 24-hour period. Nokia said it aims to offer these energy improvements to the market within the second half of this year.

5G networks are known to consume significant amounts of energy — 5G is estimated to use about three times more power than 4G stations. It is also expected to consume about a fifth of the world’s energy by 2025, rendering it a potentially major source of emissions without efforts to improve network efficiency and otherwise decarbonize.

“Network data and computation usage only continues to grow, with the clear implication that has for continued energy demand growth,” said Marcelo Madruga, head of technology and platforms, products and engineering, cloud and network services at Nokia. “What we are doing today demonstrates not only superior software and technology but delivering on our broader commitments to cut carbon emissions across value chains.”

Efficiency Improvements Contribute to Nokia’s Emissions Reductions Commitments

Nokia’s new energy efficiency platforms are part of the company’s broader effort to deliver 50% lower emissions by 2030 across its value chain. Nokia also recently committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2040, accelerating its original goal of achieving net zero by 2050.

Along with its collaborative efforts with Intel, Nokia has implemented additional energy-saving changes. The company has launched Intelligent RAN operations, which uses machine learning to reduce energy consumption at 5G base stations. It also has released a network processor which may achieve a 75% reduction in power consumption compared to previous generations.

Many environmental benefits have been achieved from digitization, such as monitoring extreme weather events or measuring site-specific emissions, but many researchers argue that the United States could improve standards to prevent unintended environmental harm from wireless 5G networks used to power these technologies.

Research from the Environmental Health Trust suggests that, in addition to energy efficiency changes, the U.S. should implement regulations for wireless radiation as the 5G industry grows.

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