New €2.3 million project seeks to deliver next-gen, sustainable 6G networks

The collaborative ENERGISE project, led by researchers from CONNECT at Trinity College Dublin, and involving Intel and other key industry partners targets significant energy reduction in mobile networks.

In a remarkable advancement for the future of telecommunications, CONNECT, in collaboration with industry giants including Intel, have embarked on the ENERGISE project, funded by a €2.3 million grant from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF). This pioneering initiative aims to drastically reduce energy consumption in mobile networks, paving the way for sustainable 6G evolution.

The ENERGISE project will focus on developing innovative solutions to tackle the energy challenges associated with future networks, providing a path for sustainable development of OpenRAN. Along with global leader, Intel, the team from CONNECT, the SFI research Centre for Future Networks at Trinity, will work with experts from Tyndall National Institute, Software Radio System, VMWare and Dell EMC.

As the digital world rapidly evolves, the demand for more efficient and sustainable network technologies has never been greater. However, the current energy consumption of the telecoms industry, estimated at 2-4% of global energy, is escalating at twice the rate of other contributors. 

The Radio Access Network (RAN) accounts for 70-80% of total cellular network energy consumption, posing sustainability challenges. Open RAN technology has the potential to reduce energy consumption considerably, by leveraging AI to automate and optimise network management.?In addition, by allowing multiple vendors to contribute to an end-to-end radio system, Open RAN fosters competition, reduces costs, and encourages innovation.

Prof. Marco Ruffini, coordinator of ENERGISE, Principal Investigator at CONNECT and Professor in optical and radio network architectures at Trinity College Dublin, said: “With ENERGISE, we’re tackling the energy efficiency challenge head-on. Open RAN networks hold great promise for the future of telecommunications, providing the flexibility and scalability necessary to facilitate rapid deployment of advanced communication services. 

“Our approach aims to integrate AI to optimise these networks, also making them more environmentally sustainable. It is great to carry out this work with such capable industry partners, members of our recently formed 6G Open Networking Alliance – 6G-ONE.” 

Dr Robin Giller, Director of SW Product Management and Planning at Intel’s Network and Edge Group added: “Intel’s involvement in the ENERGISE project aligns with our commitment to pushing the envelope in network and edge technology. This DTIF-funded project continues our fruitful collaboration with CONNECT at Trinity College Dublin, and we look forward to contributing meaningfully, with our project partners, to the development of more sustainable network infrastructures.” 

Prof. Sinéad Ryan, Dean of Research at Trinity College Dublin, said: “The ENERGISE project will harness the power of artificial intelligence to develop energy efficient solutions for Open RAN, enabling it to scale to meet the 6G requirements in a sustainable manner. It holds significant promise for our aim to advance telecommunications technology while addressing key environmental challenges and is a prime example of how academic research can drive meaningful change in industry practices.”  

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