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5G Topics: Is 5G More Power Consuming Than 4G?

Views: 0     Author: Rock, 鲜枣学堂     Publish Time: 2021-02-03      Origin: Rock, 鲜枣学堂


Original Author: Rock, 鲜枣学堂

Translate & Edit: Andy, Kewell


2020 marked the beginning of 5G technology in Telecom. According to the latest statistics, China has completed infrastructure work of 5G base stations at a staggering number of 700K, serving 0.2 billion end users. 5G market is growing drastically in China.

As good as it may seem, voice of doubt was raised. “Is 5G device more power consuming than 4G?” Some questioned about the electric cost of a 5G station that it could be too high for operators to bear.

In this article, we will be looking at the power consumption of 5G tech and the built-in power-efficiency concept during product design. Begin by answering the first question:

Is 5G more power consuming than 4G?

Unfortunately, the answer is positive.

There are two main causes for this:

(1) Massive MIMO

(2) High Frequency Channel

Massive MIMO

In a 4G base station, 8 antennas are used for its remote radio unit (RRU) with antenna matrix of 2D MIMO, and 160W full power output for RF signal. 

In a 5G base station, on the other hand, 64 antennas are used for its audio access unit (AAU) with antenna matrix of 3D MIMO, and 320W full power output for RF signal. 

On the same benchmark of efficiency, power consumption of a 5G AAU is twice the amount of a 4G RRU. However, it is also true that 5G device is more efficient than 4G. Hence, their power consumption difference is pulled closer, thanks to its extraordinary power amplifier (PA) and digital pre-distortion (DPD) algorithm.

High Frequency Channel

5G frequency channel is higher than 4G since it requires large bandwidth and massive MIMO. 

One of China’s leading tele-company, China Mobile’s coverage of 5G network is equivalent to 4G. China Telecom’s and China Unicom’s coverage of 5G network covers one quarter less than 4G, with station counts 1.8 times the 4G in theory. And to reach the same level of 4G network coverage, 5G station counts should be 1.2-1.4 times the 4G.

With two factors above combined, power consumption of 5G network is more energy consuming than 4G’s by 2.4-2.8 times.

Power consumption is indeed a subject that we can’t afford to overlook. So, why do we applaud 5G tech that applies massive MIMO and high frequency channel?

Advantage of Massive MIMO

1. Signal can be transmitted at 3D, allowing users to utilize the data and resources send out at a time frequency.

2. Interference between user ends is reduced.

3. Throughput rate (megabits per second) is significantly optimized.

4. Edge users can enjoy better network speed.

In short, high frequency channel provides basis for 5G massive MIMO technology.

Power Efficiency

The size of antenna is relevant with frequency as well. The higher the frequency is, the shorter the RF (radio frequency) signal wavelength is, which ultimately resulting in smaller antenna.

It is true that 5G is more power consuming than 4G, it has also brought us something greater in return thanks to this feature. The system capacity of 5G is 20 times larger than 4G.

In fact, 5G is more power-efficient in terms of power consumption per bit of information transmitted. 5G consumes about one-tenth as much energy per bit of data as 4G.

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