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Future-proofing Telecom Networks for 5G deployment

Vertiv in the Telecom Space: Scale with Confidence

5G in Asia

Anticipation for 5G networks has reached fever pitch as mobile operators are racing against time to be the first to deploy next level ultra-fast, low latency connectivity to billions of mobile subscribers. In fact, 5G will arrive sooner rather than later as initial deployment is expected to arrive as early as 2021.

Many countries in Asia are leading the way in developing 5G architecture, including South Korea, Japan and Australia. For telecom operators, this presents a multitude of challenges that needs to be addressed both on Greenfield and brownfield sites. Ultimately, having the right infrastructure is critical for the success of 5G deployment.

Preparing your network for 5G deployment

Many telecom operators are faced with the challenge of having to improve upon existing sites to get them ready fro 5G architecture. For example, the power and cooling systems that exists today will need to be expanded and, in some cases, upgraded, to ensure the long-term reliability, maintainability and profitability of 5G network technology. Energy efficiency strategies also need to be revisited and existing sites reevaluated to ensure 5G preparedness.

Below are some areas that telecom operators need to evaluate to ensure they are prepared for 5G:

From minimizing AC-DC conversions; deploying powerful uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems to handle the spike in power density; upgrading from VRLA to lithium-ion batteries; to investing in new cooling techniques to combat the expected increase in energy costs, operators would need to adopt new solutions to support the demand expected from 5G technology.

Telecom operators will need to get more aggressive in deploying energy-saving technologies to mitigate the impact on operating costs resulting from the higher energy consumption of 5G technology. The move to 5G is likely to increase total network energy consumption by 150-170 percent by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data center areas.

While it is expected that the transition from 4G to 5G infrastructure is not immediate, operators would need to reevaluate their existing 4G sites to ensure that these are able to handle the initial phases of 5G deployment. These can be addressed through retrofitting without having to establish or invest in new site deployments immediately.

According to a report from 451 Research titled, “Telco Study on 5G Reveals Industry Hopes and Fears: From Energy Costs to Edge Computing Transformation,” upgrades from VRLA to lithium-ion batteries are expected to increase from 66 percent of those surveyed to 81 percent five years from now. Lithium ion batteries will be an important tool as networks densify to accommodate the shorter distances 5G millimeter waves can travel.

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Ultimately, with the opportunities presented by 5G, operators need to keep in mind how to maximize their investments into 5G architecture. Basic infrastructure readiness, site access and quality interconnection will be the main considerations to efficiently deploy 5G and edge topologies.

Infrastructure Challenges

The telecom core network supports a vast array of functions within the network, from enabling mobile and web services; hosting cloud and colo offerings; and handling backend IT requirements. By supporting different IT functions, the core becomes prone to high heat densities due to an increase in computing requirements.
With 5G quickly evolving from myth to reality, operators must reevaluate their existing infrastructure to ensure that it is able to support high-density computing environment.
Many operators' core data centers are designed in a small footprint, making it prone to heat challenges.
The challenge, therefore, is optimizing the existing infrastructure for maximum reliability and efficiency, while ensuring flexibility and adaptability to future needs.

Consumers today are craving for more data and faster broadband speeds. Against this backdrop, operators are faced with the challenge of expanding their network footprint and bringing connectivity closer to customers to avoid customer churn
With a wide network across scattered locations, operators must reduce latency for its customers and ensure data sovereignty.
Relying on the core data center may not be effective and cost-efficient for telco operators. Strengthening the network edges then must be considered.

Many telco operators are in the process of connecting consumers in far-flung, rural areas. But laying or connecting power cables in remote areas can be a challenge.
Managing and maintaining power in remote sites require the use of generators, and diesel deliveries can be hampered by poor weather conditions and other causes of delay.
Where resources are available, hybrid/alternative sources of energy are a viable.
Protecting vital broadband enclosures from the harsh environment is of critical importance to maintaining connectivity and reliability.

Infrastructure Solutions for 5G Deployment

Vertiv has a range of infrastructure solutions to help enterprises and telecom operators transform 5G plans into reality. Deploying data and analytics to design highly reliable and efficient systems that are simple, sustainable, and future-ready, Vertiv collaborates closely with our customers to ensure infrastructure solutions meet the exact requirements of the application.

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