Industry Thought Leadership

New Power Solution Brings Speed and Savings to 5G Rollout

October, 2020

China Mobile International

The rollout of next-generation 5G base stations is creating challenges for carriers on the frontlines of 5G deployment across Asia Pacific and the Belt and Road countries.

A 5G network requires more base stations than its 4G LTE predecessor for the same coverage, and these base stations are more complex and more costly. They also consume much more energy because they need more antennas. At the same time, carriers are deploying multi-access edge computing (MEC) to support local processing and Internet of Things services, creating even more need for power at 5G base stations.

“Together, the rollout of 5G networks and the adoption of MEC will more than double the energy consumption of base station equipment and require a dynamic and more complex power supply system,” said Alex Lee, China Mobile International Middle East. “Many base stations don’t have sufficient power supply or battery capacity to support 5G deployment. Carriers will also face increased costs for the deployment, modification, operation and maintenance of 5G sites, with significantly higher power costs, particularly in the early deployment stage while the 5G traffic is still low.”

iConnect 5G Power Cabinet
In response to these challenges, CMI has introduced its innovative iConnect 5G Power Cabinet, an integrated base station power system with multiple energy input and output capabilities and modular design to support on-demand deployment. It needs less installation space and modification, ensuring a faster deployment time, and incorporates an energy management and control platform that allows remote monitoring and management to increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

“The iConnect 5G Power Cabinet quickly solves the problem of insufficient power supply capacity and helps carriers deploy 5G more easily and at greater speed,” Alex said.

With a one-station-one-cabinet approach, the innovative iConnect 5G Power Cabinet has the following component systems, all of which are modular, to allow flexible configuration and quick and easy replacement of parts:

  • Smart multiple input multiple output (MIMO) power supply, which incorporates power from multiple energy sources (including mains, backup generator, solar and residual power supplies) and then provides consultant voltage output for network equipment.
  • Smart Intelligent Lithium Battery, which allows dynamic management of charge and discharge for optimum capacity and works with existing battery packs.
  • Smart energy management platform, allowing intelligent monitoring, management and control of the power supply equipment and site energy efficiency, with an intelligent power distribution module for remote power-on and power-off control for each output branch.

Flexible power solution for faster construction and cost savings
The iConnect 5G Power Cabinet uses multiple energy sources and peak shaving to level out peak hour energy use and reduce power costs. This is not only an elegant way to ensure sufficient power supply for 5G equipment and minimize energy costs, but also avoids the lengthy approval process for mains expansion, which shortens construction time by up to 90% and lowers construction cost by up to 40%. Retaining original battery packs and alternating between them and new lithium batteries further reduces battery costs by about 30%.

Compact and modular for easy expansion
The modular system is also easy to expand. It enables the easy scaling of distribution circuits and the phased expansion of both the battery and heat dissipation capacity as the load increases. Should any parts fail, modules can be removed and replaced, without shutting down the power supply system.

Smart energy management and control
The iConnect 5G Power Cabinet includes a smart energy management platform that goes beyond simple equipment monitoring to allow the carrier to control power supply equipment, analyse energy efficiency indicators and conduct system maintenance. It also provides multi-dimensional analytical reports, trend forecasts and business recommendations.

The platform also includes an intelligent power distribution module that allows remote shutdown of the power supply when it is not needed, increasing overall energy efficiency by 8% to 17%.

“iConnect 5G Power Cabinet is a welcome addition to the iConnect product suite, helping carriers rapidly deploy 5G services with reduced CAPEX and electricity costs,” Alex said.