5G | SDG12
November 27, 2017

ITU environment expert group takes aim at 5G energy efficiency

By ITU News

The energy efficiency of 5G systems and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements to ensure interference-free 5G operation have been identified as high-priority fields of standardization to be addressed by ITU’s expert group for ‘environment and circular economy’, ITU-T Study Group 5.

This was one of the key conclusions of a workshop on the environmental requirements of 5G systems co-organized by ITU and ETSI in Sophia Antipolis, 23 November, in conjunction with a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5, 13-22 November.

Four key dimensions of 5G’s relationship with our environment

The meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5 agreed four new Supplements to ITU standards looking at four key dimensions of 5G’s relationship with our environment: energy efficiency (K. Suppl. 8), resistibility to electromagnetic disturbances (K. Suppl. 9), EMC (K. Suppl. 10), and the responsible management of human exposure to EMF (L. Suppl. 36).

These four dimensions of 5G environmental sustainability will remain the focus of ITU-T Study Group 5’s new standardization project on ‘5G environmental requirements’, a project to benefit from the close collaboration of ITU and ETSI.

The workshop highlighted the gains in energy efficiency to be achieved with the long-duration sleep modes supported by ultra-lean 5G system design and the increased network capacity and range enabled by massive MIMO. The workshop urged standards bodies to accelerate their work on 5G energy efficiency, calling for specifications applicable to different steps of 5G implementation.

The workshop recommended that ITU anticipate 5G rollouts by extending the scope of ITU-T L.1310, an international standard providing metrics and measurement methodologies to assess the energy efficiency of ICT equipment. It was also noted that contemporary antenna design will lead to energy inefficiency in the presence of 5G radiofrequencies, challenging standards bodies to investigate antenna design characteristics tailored to the 5G environment.

ITU was encouraged to provide leadership in standards development for ICT resistibility to electromagnetic disturbances such as those caused by lightning as well as the responsible management of human exposure to the electromagnetic fields (EMF). The workshop also identified new demand for EMC standards, recognizing that existing EMC standards do not cover all proposed 5G radiofrequencies.

All presentations given at the workshop can be found on the event’s webpage.

New standards on ICT, environment and circular economy

In addition to the agreement of the four new supplements, the Sophia Antipolis meeting of ITU-T Study Group 5 reached first-stage approval (‘consent’) of 11 new and 8 revised ITU standards.

The standards include energy efficiency metrics for network infrastructure as well as expert guidance on EMC requirements, the management of EMF, e-waste management and the protection of ICT systems from forces of nature.

A new standard will support the shift to more resource-efficient ICT value chains by helping network operators and their suppliers to operate in line with the key principles of ‘circular economy’.

Two new standards address risk assessments relevant to ICT sector’s adaptation to climate change and the role played by ICTs in assisting climate change adaptation in the fisheries sector.

Learn more about ITU-T Study Group 5 here

Photo by Ari He

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ITU environment expert group takes aim at 5G energy efficiency

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