Energy Efficient Evolution of Mobile Networks: Macro-Only Upgrades vs. a Joint-Pico Deployment Strategy

Gilbert Micallef, Preben Mogensen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in JournalResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


With the increasing popularity of mobile broadband, mobile network operators (MNOs) are experiencing a continuous boost in network traffic. Some MNOs have stopped offering unlimited data plans, replacing them with a variety of data bundles. At the same time operators are looking at the different options for how to evolve their networks, allowing them to carry the expected increase in traffic. The best solution is generally selected based on two main criteria, performance and cost. However, pushed by a variety of environmental and energy challenges, MNOs are now also showing interest in understanding the impact that different options can have on the energy consumption of their networks. This paper investigates the possible energy gains of evolving a mobile network through a joint pico deployment and macro upgrade solution over a period of 8 years. Besides the network energy consumption, energy efficiency in Mbps/kWh is also analyzed. Furthermore, a cost analysis is carried out, to give a more complete picture of the different options being considered. Focusing on the last year of the evolution analysis, results show that deploying more pico sites reduces the energy consumption of the network, by a maximum of 30%. With regards to the energy efficiency, high deployment of pico sites allowed the network to carry 16% more traffic for the same amount of energy. This, however, results in an increase in cost, specifically operational costs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E V T S Vehicular Technology Conference. Proceedings
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2011
EventIEEE VTC Spring 2011 - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 14 May 201117 May 2011


ConferenceIEEE VTC Spring 2011


  • energy efficiency
  • pico sites
  • network deployment
  • network optimization
  • HSPA
  • cellular network
  • energy saving
  • network performance
  • cost analysis

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    Network Energy Saving

    Micallef, G., E. Mogensen, P. & Kovacs, I.

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    02/01/2009 → …

    Project: Research

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