5G, Edge, and the Quest to be Green

In this Vanguard Report from 451 Research, learn more about the growing importance for energy efficiency for communication service providers and the impact processor choice can have in achieving sustainability goals.

The digital transformation of the telecommunications industry has reached an inflection point and will accelerate as many mobile network operators embark on the next phase of deployments of 5G and edge computing. The next generation of mobile networks are cloudnative, disaggregated, decentralized and increasingly open systems. Disaggregating via virtualizing or containerizing network functions and opening the network breaks decades-old control points and enables new value-chain participants to now compete at every level of the network stack.

These networks will increasingly operate more like modern cloud infrastructures and create opportunities to serve enterprise and developer stakeholders with advanced network features and integrated network edge computing. Early returns on 5G have been mixed; the hope is that a fully realized 5G sets the stage for a more lucrative era. Cloud-native 5G networks bring a specific set of challenges that operators must navigate. At or near the top of the list is managing the environmental impact and energy costs of this new highly distributed and power-thirsty topology.

Entering this intermediate phase of 5G deployment broadly intersects secular trends impacting the telecom C-suite, including a need for ESG transparency and setting and progressing against net-zero targets. Regional conflicts are creating energy inflation and scarcity, which in turn raises the stakes even higher to find sustainability innovations. We recently conducted a ”5G and sustainability” research study with telecommunication operators from around the globe to understand network stakeholder priorities at the intersection of 5G, open networks, edge computing and sustainability. On the latter point, our survey reveals that sustainability goals are now materially affecting network architecture decisions (see Figure 1 in 5G, Edge, and the Quest to be Green Report ).

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