Operators are optimistic about the future services 5G will enable, but estimates suggest network energy consumption could increase by up to 170 per cent by 2026
Vertiv, in collaboration with technology analyst firm 451 Research, has released the findings of an in-depth survey which reveals a good sense of optimism about the services 5G will enable and the interplay with edge computing. The majority of telecoms operators surveyed believe the 5G era will start in earnest in 2021 in all geographies, with 88 per cent of respondents planning to deploy 5G in 2021-2022.
However, more than 90 per cent of respondents believe 5G will result in higher energy costs and are interested in technologies and services that improve efficiency. 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 per cent by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data centre areas.
The survey questioned more than 100 global telecoms operators about the opportunities and potential obstacles of deploying 5G services and the impact on edge computing adoption. Vertiv and 451 Research shared details of the findings at Mobile World Congress on February 27th in Barcelona, Spain.
“There’s no doubt that 5G is the next big thing for communications and mobile networks. It is understandable, however, that there are concerns when it comes to deploying this technology. It is critical for operators to have the right infrastructure in place that would allow them to rollout 5G in the most efficient manner. By understanding the different use cases as outlined by Vertiv, and with the aid of the 451 Research survey, it is our hope that they can make informed decisions when it comes to investing in their critical infrastructure,” said Danny Wong, senior director for telecoms at Vertiv in Asia.
Regarding edge and 5G specifically, the survey reveals that a large majority of operators have deployed (37 per cent) or plan to deploy (47 per cent) edge compute that is aligned with mobile infrastructure – also called multi-access edge computing (MEC).
“This survey brings us clarity on telecom operators’ hopes and fears around 5G and edge deployments,” says Brian Partridge, research vice president for 451 Research. “The two toughest connectivity challenges for supporting 5G topologies were revealed to be upgrading access and aggregation layer networks and adding new backhaul links. Survey respondents indicated that the availability of high quality connectivity to distributed POPs and ease of site acquisition were viewed as the most critical enablers to 5G success. We were frankly surprised by some of these results and believe it brings clarity to the level of transformation the industry now faces.”