Skip to Main Content
In 2020, mobile access networks will experience significant challenges as compared to the situation of today. Traffic volumes are expected to increase 1000 times, and the number of connected devices will be 10-100 times higher than today in a networked society with unconstrained access to information and sharing of data available anywhere and anytime to anyone and anything. One of the big challenges is to provide this 1000-fold capacity increase to billions of devices in an affordable and sustainable way. Low energy consumption is the key to achieve this. This paper takes as starting point the situation of today, and tries to pinpoint important focus areas and potential solutions when designing an energy efficient 5G mobile network architecture. These include system architecture, where a logical separation of data and control planes is seen as a promising solution; network deployment, where (heterogeneous) ultra dense layouts will have a positive effect; radio transmission, where the introduction of massive antenna configurations is identified as an important enabler; and, finally, backhauling solutions that need to be more energy efficient than today.