AT&T Wants a Sustainable and Affordable 6G

At the Brooklyn 6G Summit (B6GS) 2022, Dr. Ralf Bendlin, Principal Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Labs in Austin, Texas, presented the CSP's viewpoint on sustainable and affordable future networks.

As you can see from the image on the top, he presented the case for green networks and also the scope of green networks. The latter highlighting small changes that can have a much larger impact. 

He also highlighted the fact that while majority of the focus is on emission reductions during the operation of the networks, three quarters of the emissions are as result of equipment production. We need to look at a holistic picture to identify and solve the emission issues from beginning to end.

Here is the video of his talk, courtesy of IEEE TV.

In his DanoVision, Mike Dano from Light Reading highlights some other interesting points:

Amid lengthy discussions about spectrum, circuit designs and cloud-network architectures, several speakers at an online event this week suggested that 6G could bring a return to metered pricing. Nokia and NYU Wireless hosted the event, which focused on 6G and environmental sustainability.

It's still very early days in the development of the next G. 5G deployment is still getting underway, and the 6G standard isn't even on the drawing board yet. That means commercial 6G networks aren't expected until 2028 at the earliest.

Nonetheless, this week's event gathered academic and technological experts to try to figure out what the next decade of technological evolution might look like. As they looked at trend lines for data consumption, networking designs and telecom climate impacts, some floated the idea that 6G network operators might want to consider returning to a pricing structure last seen in the 3G era: usage-based pricing.

"We need to start charging for usage again," said Kimberley Trommler, head of Thinknet 6G, during her keynote address. She explained that a return to usage-based pricing could help address skyrocketing data traffic and the ever-growing energy demands from cellular networks, devices and services.

Trommler wasn't alone. Although AT&T's Ralf Bendlin didn't directly support usage-based pricing, he did say that it might be helpful to inform users about how much data they are consuming. Bendlin, from the operator's labs in Austin, Texas, pointed to research showing that some people take shorter showers if they know how much water they're consuming. "Just knowing how much you consume can change your behavior," he said.

At issue are concerns over whether wireless networks will be able to keep pace with dramatic increases in demand for data, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. 5G technology has certainly helped address this in the cellular world by opening up networks to a wide range of new spectrum bands. Such bands have allowed network operators to radically increase their available network capacity. However, speakers at this week's 6G event suggested that it's possible that usage will only continue to rise, forcing the industry to consider new measures that go beyond technological solutions for things like network topology and spectrum management.

You can read the complete article here. Kimberley Trommler's talk is available here.

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