Will 5G and edge increase network energy consumption or improve efficiency?

The roll-out of 5G, and associated edge computing infrastructure, will create new revenue streams for telecoms operators and potentially new efficiencies. But experts are also predicting that 5G and Edge will, alongside significant infrastructure costs,  introduce new challenges around energy use and carbon emissions.

According to recent research from 451 Research and Vertiv, the majority of telecoms operators surveyed believe the 5G era will start in earnest in 2021 in all geographies, with 88 percent of respondents planning to deploy 5G in 2021-2022.

However, more than 90 percent of respondents also believe 5G will result in higher energy costs. This is consistent with internal analysis by Vertiv, which finds the move to 5G is likely to increase total network energy consumption by 150-170 percent by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data center areas.

But while there is the potential for energy consumption to ramp-up, other experts point to the efficiencies that 5G will enable including more data transmitted per unit of energy.

Key discussion points of this webcast will include:

  • How to measure the energy impact of 5G versus the efficiency benefits
  • How are operators managing the wider costs of 5G
  • What regulatory and other external pressure are operators facing around energy and carbon emissions
  • What technologies and strategies can operators adopt to meet energy challenges