High energy prices in 2022 and 2023 have led to a significant increase in operating costs and a decline in service providers’ profit margins. Companies have been looking for ways to find a balance between meeting growing market demands and reducing energy consumption. What are some of the solutions they came up with?
OSS and BSS solutions for optimizing power consumption
To address the issue of balancing service quality and energy consumption optimization, OSS and BSS providers for telecoms, such as Comarch, have introduced management solutions for service and equipment configuration and selecting a power source. They were followed by standardization organizations that have discussed interfaces to expand the usability of those systems, regardless of how many items and which technology suppliers’ equipment is being used. Subsequently, technology vendors also joined in, offering new opportunities in new technologies such as 5G and 6G and retroactively implementing them in 4G. Finally, the approach of many national regulators of the telecommunications services market is changing, allowing system solutions that were previously impossible.
AI and ML-powered automation tools
Currently, the platforms that manage the source and volume of electricity operate on the basis of deeply automated systems. As rule-based actions turned out to be insufficient and too difficult to maintain and optimize, most providers rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to change equipment configuration dynamically and holistically. AI and ML-based systems are controlled through numerous and variable behavior policies. These systems reduce the enormous workload and allow rapid changes without the need to extensively train the engineers who maintain the rule systems. Automated rules also ensure fair, impartial, and equitable cooperation between multiple operators (including virtual ones) while they use a shared network infrastructure.
Sharing telecommunications infrastructure through Open RAN
Infrastructure handling systems utilize open architecture interfaces, making them widely accessible and easy to implement regardless of how many different pieces of equipment and from which suppliers are being used by telcos. For example, the Open RAN initiative aims to define new standards for data collection to obtain more representative measurements of energy usage, resulting in more efficient management of entire networks. The idea is to share radio network resources between operators in a designated area by enabling national roaming. This requires advanced real-time monitoring and dynamic configuration based on tracked values. Such a trend will develop not only in the coming year but is also a permanent part of the direction of the development of RAN systems.
InfraCo: Dedicated infrastructure management companies
Another idea for increasing power efficiency was to introduce InfraCo, a new company type focused on energy-saving solutions and managing infrastructure shared between a number of service providers. Such a company actively monitors not only network parameters such as utilization, availability, quality, and traffic, but also energy consumption, and correlates data to propose efficient optimization of power usage by turning off resources when traffic drops or changing the allocation of resources in the data center in order to save energy. InfraCo actively monitors network parameters and is capable of serving multiple providers. Together with internal roaming as well as fair rules of cooperation based on AI and ML systems, these solutions can help reduce power usage during periods of low demand for services.
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