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The continuous increase in energy consumption by cellular networks requires rethinking their energy efficiency. Current research indicates that one third of operating energy could be saved by reducing the transmission power of base stations. However, this approach requires the introduction of a range of additional equipment containing more embodied energy - consumed by all processes associated with the production of equipment. This problem is addressed first in this article. Furthermore, a new cellular network energy efficiency model with embodied energy is proposed, and optimization between the number of cells and their coverage is investigated. Contrary to previous works, we have found that embodied energy accounts for a significant proportion of total energy consumption and cannot be neglected. The simulation results confirm an important trade-off between operating and embodied energies, which can provide some practical guidelines for designing energy-efficient cellular access networks. The new model considering embodied energy is not limited to just cellular networks, but to other telecommunications, such as wireless local area networks and wired networks.
Date of Publication: March-April 2011