A Montreal research team wants to reduce the energy consumption of 5G
The new 5G system will dramatically increase the speed of cellular networks, opening up new markets for businesses and individuals.
Telecommunications giant Ericsson is joining forces with three x27;Montreal Higher Education and Environment and Climate Change Canada. The objective: to reduce the energy consumption of 5G networks and their effects on the environment, while using artificial intelligence (AI).
Seven professors and twenty researchers from Polytechnique Montréal, the École de technologie supérieure (ETS) and Concordia University will take part in a research program over the next three years. This will be supported by Ericsson's Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA), based in Montreal.
The goal will be to analyze the 5G network end-to-end, from the antennas to interactions with apps on phones and the mobile internet, to see where the gains in power are. energy saving are possible thanks to algorithms, according to what explains the head of the site of Ericsson in Montreal, Paul Baptista.
Most of the time, the equipment is at maximum capacity and running, for example, at 100% performance. But maybe there are times in the network when you don't need to have all the lights on, said Mr. Baptista in an interview with The Canadian Press.
With AI, the research team will attempt to develop ways to reduce the amount of power base stations need to transmit signals to wireless devices, but without affecting their effectiveness.
While a 5G installation consumes between 8 and 15% less energy than a similar 4G installation, according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the fact remains that the The carbon footprint of this new generation could prove to be greater due to the new uses that will be made of it.
The digital revolution that is promised with 5G could lead to the manufacture of billions of new connected objects to take advantage of the new functionalities, underlines in particular the team of the Chemins de transition project, affiliated with the University of Montreal, in its report on the digital challenge.
These new devices will cause an increase in energy consumption and will require the extraction of non-renewable natural resources for their production, in addition to the construction of several infrastructures such as antennas.
It is estimated that digital technology should consume three times more energy in 2025 than in 2010, reads the report by the organization Chemins de transition.
5G is an important innovation, but it is also polluting, according to ETS professor in the Department of Systems Engineering Mohamed Cheriet, who will take part in the research project.
He refers to the fact that the information and communication technology (ICT) sector accounts for around 5% of global energy consumption. Current demand is on the order of 1,000 terawatt-hours annually, according to Mr. Cheriet.
The ICT sector is as polluting as aviation in terms of energy. #x27;greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, says Eco-Cloud Canada Research Chair in Ecological Sustainability.
He is hopeful that the solutions that will emerge from the research program with Ericsson will improve the energy efficiency of 5G. But there is also, according to him, educational work to be carried out with the population to make them responsible digital users.
Currently, there is no x27;There is no data in Canada on the current or future effect of 5G and ICT deployment on the country's carbon footprint or GHG emissions. The involvement of Environment and Climate Change Canada in this research project should fill this lack of information.
Ericsson's choice of carrying out this so-called innovative project in the Quebec metropolis is explained in particular by a long-standing collaboration between the Swedish company and Montreal universities, as well as by Montreal's recognized expertise in the field of research. IA.
The initiative is also financially supported by the Quebec government through its InnovÉÉ program – Innovation in electrical energy.