5 Ways to optimise 5G in times of capex constraints

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Did your cousin mention downloading an HD movie in under 10 minutes but it took you almost 5x of that time or, your counterpart based out of South Korea is having a better and seamless video conferencing experience than you. It is most probably because they are based out of those few 378 cities where 5G has been deployed so far.

As the telecom operators gear up to deliver the promise of faster speed and lower latency with 5G making 4g a thing in the past, the telcos need to factor in these 5 drivers responsible for an optimized 5G coverage

FTT-5G: Convergence of 5G and FTTH

To deliver the increased bandwidth demand, densification of macro sites must happen. Reduction of the site to site distance with more and more small can be expensive. Low power small cells could be introduced closer to the homes like in the area already covered by a macro cell. With this FTTH and 5G would have great synergies and could help operators optimize the investments in spectrum, civil works, active and passive infrastructure.

As per recent studies conducted by FTTH council Europe, the convergence of 5G and FTTH is a very financially viable option. In high population density areas, an additional investment of 0.4% to the existing FTTH network could result in 96% savings in fibre cost of 5G xhaul. 

Next-Gen RAN infrastructure

Radio access network (RAN) infrastructure which constitutes of towers, antennas and base station constitutes a major part of the network TCO in 4g and is expected to further increase by 15% in 5G deployment. 

Usage of C-RAN, also known as cloud-RAN could result in the TCO saving by as much as 25% as compared with distributed RAN (D-RAN) as a result of the centrally located base band unit (BBU).

Backhaul: higher capacity upgrade

As per research from GSMA, in 4g, backhaul transport networks account for 15% of TCO. In 5G, operators need to upgrade the backhaul link to at least 10gbps or even 100 Gbps in some cases. The operators need to enhance the network capacity which can handle the traffic expected to be generated with the advent of 5G. This upgradation might inflate the backhaul cost by as much as 50%. The operators who own fibre network would have an upper hand when it will come to the network expansion and can mitigate the backhaul cost.

Infrastructure sharing

As per the analysis done by GSMA on network sharing case studies for 4g, operators have realized TCO savings as high as 50% and similar cost mitigation is expected if the sharing model is replicated in 5G. Operators can chose to share right from spectrum to the active and passive infrastructure.

Operators could choose from options like micro level single neutral hosts (SNH) for places with space constraint to macro level – SNH

Energy optimisation

Switching to a renewable source of energy is the need of the hour. Not just for a sustainable future but, also for a sustainable business especially telcos which as an industry consumes around 3% of global energy and energy consumption also attributes to a major chunk of TCO. 

With 5G densification would result in a greater number of sites operating on the latest technologies, which would surge the energy requirement by more than 100%. As telecom operators gear up to roll out 5G, they have a huge opportunity to deliver greener telecom footprint with the usage of renewable sources of energy like solar and wind supported by a drastic reduction in the cost of photovoltaic cells and wind turbines. 

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