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Manage entire network to go green

To achieve 'greener' next-generation networks, operators should scrutinize network investment and focus on product lifecycle management, urges expert.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

Operators managing the complete network design from infrastructure to product, is key to turning next-generation networks (NGNs) 'greener', said a Nokia Siemens Networks executive.

Ricky Corker, Asia-Pacific head at Nokia Siemens Networks pointed out that an estimated 85 percent of a mobile operator's energy consumption comes from the radio network, with 10 percent of operational cost stemming from energy consumption. With the bulk of energy use coming from the radio network, operators should look to managing their infrastructure, in order to reduce their CO2 footprint--as well as save cost, he said.

To better manage their infrastructure, operators ought to be mindful of the entire lifecycle of products they invest in--from ground to base stations--and choose products with lower power requirements, said Corker. A reduction in the size and weight of products will also cut transport costs, while companies should invest in more sophisticated take-back and recycling services, he added.

He noted the ICT sector as a whole contributes 2 percent of global emissions, with that figure set to double by 2020.

According to Corker, the industry would benefit from the enforcement of more international standards to measure and regulate emissions. "Further cooperation is needed" to make this a reality, he said.

Sharad Somani, executive director of KPMG corporate finance, told ZDNet Asia at a panel discussion held earlier this month, Singapore's own next-generation broadband network saved a significant amount of resource wastage by reusing existing duct infrastructure.

The OpenNet consortium, which was chosen to build the NGN's fiber network, was able to use existing ducts, manholes and exchanges already belonging to local incumbent SingTel, also an OpenNet member.

Somani said laying duct work is a "major component of building any NGN", and operators should focus on reducing the amount of fuel and disruption to roads and greenery involved in building out a network's infrastructure.

Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of the IDA's infrastructure services development group, said at the same panel event, being green "has always been a consideration" in the ICT regulator's evaluation of methods to lay the NGN's fiber infrastructure.

He noted however, that OpenNet's ability to reuse existing infrastructure was not the "only driving factor" in its decision to award the contract to OpenNet, but said: "We want to use our resources carefully...It was definitely one of the benefits of choosing [OpenNet], to avoid digging up the roads."

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