ZTE Cloud 5GC brings a green engine for the era of computing power


With the large-scale construction and wide application of 5G network, the computing power requirements are bursting. A large number of base stations, edge data centers, and large data centers are being deployed one after another, the network traffic is increasing continuously, the energy consumption is increasing significantly, and the green transformation of 5G network is urgent.
As the core of 5G network, 5GC is indispensable to the research and application of its energy-saving technologies. On the one hand, core network needs to implement energy saving and emission reduction. Due to the variety and quantity of NFs in the core network and scattered deployment, there is a large amount of resource redundancy. In addition, tidal phenomena of services has a great impact on resource utilization. Therefore, reducing resource redundancy and improving resource efficiency are the major challenges of building a green 5G core network. On the other hand, core network needs to act as the core brain and collaborate with other network domains to empower different industries and reduce consumption.

Facing the opportunities and challenges of exploding computing power requirements and green development, ZTE Cloud 5GC focuses on "energy saving" and "efficiency improvement." It also undertakes the mission of "empowering", to build a green engine for the era of computing power, promote the green upgrade of the entire industry, and help to achieve the "dual-carbon" goal.

  • System dynamic “energy saving”

The day, night, and holiday traffic shows a significant tidal effect. The load of the network system varies greatly in busy hours and idle hours. During the low traffic period, a large number of core network devices will be idle, but these idle NEs still consume a large amount of power.

ZTE Cloud 5GC supports dynamic energy saving from software to hardware. The management domain perceives the service load in real time and predicts the busy/idle load based on the AI. It performs visual management through the energy consumption dashboard, and locks the services with high energy consumption through carbon energy analysis. The O&M layer collaborates with the infrastructure and NE layer to optimize end-to-end energy consumption. Through refined component-level scaling, resources are on demand. Through dynamic service migration, resource fragments are reduced. And then, no-load CPU cores and hosts are put to sleep or powered off in proportion, so that the system can intelligently and dynamically reduce power consumption. In terms of hardware energy saving, ZTE demonstrates cold-plate liquid-cooled servers that dissipate heat efficiently, safely, and reliably for high power-consumption components such as CPUs on some exhibitions recently. The large-scale use of cold-plate liquid cooling technology in the data center resource pool will help reduce the PUE to below 1.2 and save a large amount of power for the core equipment room.

  • Improving efficiency of computing power resources 

To solve the energy consumption problem, not only energy consumption but also service experience should be considered. Therefore, resource energy efficiency needs to be measured in accordance with the "green" standard. The ZTE 5GC improves the resource efficiency per watt through heterogeneous collaboration, which is mainly reflected in the following aspects: support heterogeneous computing power such as CPU/GPU/DPU, implementing cross-region and cross-time precise computing orchestration and unified scheduling, to achieve the best match between services and resources; support the collaborative optimization of software and hardware, providing extremely high performance and increasing computing power density; in addition, the on-demand construction and release of dynamic network slices also promotes resource recycling. For example, the concert is held at staggered times with the sports competition. After the concert slice is released, the resources can be used to construct the sports competition slice, greatly improving the resource efficiency.

  • Green "empowerment" in the industry

The rapid economic development in China has promoted the rapid improvement of industrialization, urbanization, and people's quality of life, and led to the continuous growth of energy consumption and carbon emissions. Telecommunications networks and technologies, including core network, are key forces and important infrastructure for green development in thousands of industries, and play important roles in green life and production.

In terms of empowering green life, core network can help IoT terminals, such as smart electricity meters/water meters and smart locks, save energy. In accordance with IoT service features, core network negotiates with terminals to deliver different power-saving policies on demand, and instructs terminals to sleep periodically at the second, hour, and day levels, extending the standby time of IoT terminals by ten to 1,000 times. In addition, the core network can cache the downlink application packets during the terminal sleep period to ensure reliable data transmission during power saving. 

In terms of empowering green production, ZTE and its partners jointly released the 5G TSN green power grid solution, which integrates 5G TSN/5G LAN/URLLC/SLA accurate control in 5G network to provide time-promised SLA for the power grid industry, accelerate the deployment of new energy, and help the power industry achieve the strategic goal of "emission peak and carbon neutrality". The solution won GTI 2022 Market Development Award.

ZTE actively implements the "dual-carbon" strategy, and continuously strengthens the research and application practice of energy saving, efficiency improvement, and empowerment technologies, helping operators build end-to-end green and low-carbon networks, building a "green ICT foundation" for the green transformation of industries.