Green energy for fixed and mobile networks: ETSI ATTM AT2

By George Babinov, SBS expert in ETSI TC ATTM.

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) now penetrate all parts of society. They bring efficiency benefits to businesses and organisations, and new lifestyle options for individuals.

It is well recognized that ICT solutions have a positive (enabling) role in reducing the environmental impact of other sectors. This means that there will be an increasing need for ICT solutions to combat climate change.

In the meantime, as more and improved communications networks (former telecommunications networks) are deployed, the power needed to operate and cool the connected equipment is also likely to increase. Individuals are registering two growing impacts on their lives due to the evolution of ICT networks and services: the positive environmental impact brought about by telecommunications and dematerialisation and the negative impact in the shape of the energy consumed by the ICT equipment in their homes.

These were the main reasons that motivated the EC to issue the Mandate M/462: Standardisation mandate addressed to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in the field of ICT to enable efficient energy use in fixed and mobile information and communication networks

In response to M/462 in March 2014 ETSI published the first of a series ES 205 200 standards covering operational energy management and sustainability of broadband deployment, produced by ETSI Technical Committee Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing (ATTM). The standard specifies the Energy Management and Global KPIs of ICT Sites, among which Data Centres.

The DCEM (Dataprocessing and Communications Energy Management) Global KPI defined in the new ETSI Standard ES 205 200-3 is based on a simplified application of the below KPIEM.“The DCEM Global KPI offers a reliable operational measurement method and includes the energy reused for other purposes than data centres,” says Dominique Roche, chairman of OEU and ATTM committees in ETSI.

Standard ES 205 200-1 was defined to build a global KPIEM based on a formula using 4 different Objective KPIs:

  1. Energy consumption, KPIEC
  2. Task efficiency, KPITE
  3. Energy reused, KPIREUSE
  4. Renewable energy, KPIREN

As these standards are already in ATTM AT2 history, the Workgroup actually continues to develop standards in response to phase 2 of M/462.

ES 205 200-2-2 is defining the Energy Management and Global KPIs for fixed (excluding cable) access networks and describing how the Global KPIs are to be applied and is in Early draft status.

ES 205 200-2-3 is defining the Energy Management and Global KPIs specific for mobile access networks and describing how the Global KPIs are to be applied. This standard is at End of pre-processing status for WG approval.

ES 205 200-4 will deal with monitoring of other environmental viability aspects of sustainability. It will be a placeholder for the future development of a framework of documents defining actions for monitoring sustainability of broadband solutions including management of carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emission equivalence) in coordination with, in particular, the work of ITU-T SG5. The document is at Early draft status.

ES 205 200-3 is a new Work item adopted by the Technical Body (TB). It will define field implementation of a so-called Global Key Performance Indicator (Global KPI) enabling the monitoring of performance of energy management in all ICT sites including, but not limited to, data centres and operator sites.

“In the current context, it is imperative that main ICT actors implement effective general engineering of fixed and mobile broadband networks and associated operator sites in order to respond to critical issues of energy consumption while proposing essential solutions to true broadband deployment. To guide this process, it is essential that metrics, assessment methods and Global Key Performance Indicators (Global KPIs) are defined to enable energy efficiency to be monitored.

 These standards are currently published as ETSI Standards (ES) and shall be improved by 2016 the latest as European Norms (EN) in order to be taken into account by the European Commission in the list of norms attached to potential new European pieces of legislation (e.g. Regulations or Delegated Regulations) supporting the development of efficient ICT products and components”, say Olivier Bouffant, chairman of ATTM/AT2 working group, and Dominique Roche, chairman of OEU and ATTM committees in ETSI.

At the same time there are a lot of studies in Europe showing the relevance of ICT energy efficiency to SMEs.

SMEs are particularly vulnerable of energy efficiency due to limited resources and tight operating margins. Cutting energy waste can be a quick way for them to reduce costs, but they often lack the knowledge, financing and dedicated personnel needed to identify efficiency opportunities and implement improvements.

“Commonly used ICT equipment in SMEs is not monitored sufficiently: Since ICT underpins virtually in all aspects of business, it is necessary to monitor technology use not only in ICT departments, but increasingly important to also do so across all departments.” – concluded CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies).

With the programme “Energy-efficient ICT for SMEs, the Administration and the Home”, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy promotes innovative projects which aim at reducing the energy consumption in data centres, telecommunication nets, office and home applications. The results of the research projects show, how energy consumption of ICT can be reduced significantly. This is important, because the energy efficiency potential of green IT have to be used more intensively.

The standards under development in ETSI TC ATTM will give a quantitative evaluation instruments to the enterprises, including SMEs to assess and manage the energy efficiency of the used or developed ICT equipment.

With a reliable, flexible and eco-friendly standard, ICT goes green”, stated Claire Boyer, Communications Manager at ETSI.