Huawei's Way to Green ICT

Green Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was a very hot topic at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, as virtually all major players have discussed their objectives in achieving net-zero emission around a 2040 to 2050 timeframe. However, only a handful of players have shared the approach they will be using to achieve this objective, Huawei being one of them.

The company has renewed its commitment to lead the industrial digital transformation by helping mobile operators and their clients to carry more traffic over their networks while significantly reducing the overall Network Carbon Intensity (NCI), which measures the carbon emission of the network per unit data carried over this network.

Huawei's Three-Layer Solution to Green ICT

At the show, Dr. Philip Song, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Huawei’s Carrier Business Unit, argued that while the share of ICT infrastructure from the global carbon emission will not exceed 2%, the technology will help many enterprise verticals, including farming, manufacturing, oil and gas, smart buildings, and other sectors, to reduce their carbon emission by at least 20%. He also argued that while deploying renewable energy for cutting the overall CO2 emission of infrastructure towers, 55% of these towers will still rely on traditional energy sources in 2030. Therefore, it is essential for infrastructure suppliers to build equipment designed primarily with energy efficiency in mind. Huawei is focusing on three fundamental technology layers to achieve this goal: the network operation layer, the network infrastructure layer, and the site layer.

Green Operation: Huawei aims to help operators modernize their networks and migrate their users from existing networks based on 2G/3G/4G technologies onto far more efficient 5G networks. Dr. Song said every time an operator migrates 10% of 2G/3G users to 4G/5G networks, it could translate into up to 2% of energy savings. Another facet of green operation consists of implementing intelligent solutions able to efficiently manage both power and network resources. The aim here is to avoid unnecessary energy dissipation by dynamically calibrating the power capacity with traffic demand and by putting parts of the network resources on standby when demand is low. Here again, Huawei offers multiple solutions ranging from PowerStar2.0, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure dynamic shut-off and switch-on of carriers and channels to save energy, to the most recently announced Mobile Intelligent Engine (MIE), which helps in maximizing energy efficiency through real-time site resource dormancy when the traffic is low.  

Green Networks: Here Huawei offers end-to end energy efficient solutions from radio heads to all-optical networks to a simplified and truly cloudified core network. With the massive amount of data residing in the cloud, there is an imminent need for efficient networks, such as all-optical networks to carry them. Dr. Song highlighted that 150 million tons of CO2 emissions could be prevented each year if the current infrastructure is replaced by greener all-optical technologies.

It is the end-to-end system design approach taken by Huawei, often in collaboration with their customers, which enables the company to offer greener solutions to their clients while maximizing the overall performance of their infrastructure.

Greener Sites: Huawei offers a number of green site solutions, including:

  1. Their GreenSite, a cell site designed to eliminate the need for equipment rooms such as air conditioning, hence saving up to 30% of the total energy consumption of the cell site.  
  2. Their high-density and lightweight Four Transmit-Four Receiver (4T4R) base station has the ability to replace multiple racks with a single multiband and multi-Radio Access Technologies (RATs) compact rack. This solution enables dynamic power sharing across RATs, which, according to Huawei, could translate into up to 30% reduction of power consumption. The company did also introduce the first high-power ultra-broadband 8T8R Remote Radio Unit (RRU), which could help customers make further energy savings up to 15%, according to Huawei estimates.
  3. Their Ultra-Wide-Band RUU and their Active Antenna Unit (AAU) solution, BladeAAU Pro, enables the support of multiple frequency bands in a single RRU while enabling the deployment of 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G technologies on a single pole. This approach allows operators to make significant savings in terms of site space needed to install new equipment, including new power sources, on each site.
  4. A number of Huawei renewable energy solutions are included, going from wind and solar energy to hybrid solutions, depending on the environment of the site.
  5. Huawei offers a novel massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) solution. The company claims it could improve power consumption by up to 30% compared to peer products.

Huawei claims its three-layer approach to green ICT is key in helping operators to reduce their CO2 emissions and improve their NCI through increasing their network capacity without compromising energy efficiency. The “More bits, Less watts” approach Huawei is taking to build sustainable infrastructure is designed to help their clients among industry players accelerate their agendas for net-zero carbon emissions.