Modelling Energy Efficiency of Next-Generation Networks

A growing problem for telecommunication network providers and their users is how to minimise the energy consumption of their networks.

This is important in terms of reducing their operational expenditure (OPEX), as well as meeting the energy demands of the continued growth in network traffic. An important aspect of this problem is how to monitor and audit the energy consumption of a given telecommunications network. In recent years, a variety of models have been developed for modelling energy consumption in networks. However, these energy models assume a reasonably static network architecture, and are designed for off-line accounting of energy usage. While this approach to modelling is suitable for existing telecommunication network architectures, there is an emerging trend towards next-generation networks (such as 5G wireless and network function virtualisation), which will use highly dynamic network architectures. A major challenge for modelling energy consumption in these next-generation networks is how to monitor these dynamic networks in real-time and in a financially viable manner, so that the network configuration can be dynamically optimised to minimise energy consumption in response to changing traffic conditions.

The focus of this project is to develop modelling techniques for energy consumption in next-generation telecommunication networks. This is important in reducing their operational expenditure and meeting the energy demands of future growth in network traffic. Project outcomes are intended to enable real-time management of energy usage, and the assessment of the financial benefits of different investment strategies in network infrastructure.

This project is supported and funded by an ARC Linkage grant

Project team

Prof Christopher Leckie

Prof Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas

Assoc Prof Elaine Wong

Dr André F. Gygax

Dr Chien Aun Chan


Chien Aun Chan, André F. Gygax, Christopher Leckie, Elaine Wong, Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas, Kerry Hinton, “Telecommunications energy and greenhouse gas emissions management for future network growth,” Applied Energy, vol. 166, pp. 174–185, March 2016. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.01.007

This paper presents models to evaluate the key interdependencies of contributing factors in managing the sustainable growth of a telecommunications network using real data and Monte Carlo simulation. The paper highlights the importance of both operational and embodied energy efficiency improvements and the need for a comprehensive approach to better understand the interactions between network growth, technological progress, equipment replacement lifetime, energy consumption, and the resulting carbon footprint.


Engineering and IT research gets $1.5m boost

Cleaner, greener 5G wireless networks and a revolutionary method for targeting the delivery of drugs to diseased cells are just some of the major engineering and IT industry partnership projects that have been greenlit at the University of Melbourne thanks to the Australian Research Council’s Linkage grants for 2015.

Read the full article on The Melbourne Engineer: 16 July 2015