It’s long been clear that data centres make enormous demands on energy consumption. A new report suggests that 5G will make the situation much worse.
A study, carried out by RWTH Aachen University, commissioned by the international, privately owned Germany-based energy supplier E.ON, suggests that 5G alone will further increase the already rapidly growing electricity demand in data centres by up to 3.8 terawatt hour (TWh) by the year 2025.
Admittedly that’s hard to visualise, so the report handily offers the information that this would be enough electricity to supply the 2.5 million people that live in Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund for an entire year.
Inevitably, the report gives E.ON a chance to promote its readiness to deal with increased demand and its commitment to making rising energy consumption climate-friendly, but the point is still a relevant one.
5G will offer the opportunity for companies to build their own mobile radio networks and enhance machine-to-machine communications. When mobile broadband reaches 5G speeds, consumers will be able to enjoy movie-viewing in real time without having to download a file.
According to the study, this technological leap will require the establishment of numerous small, local data centres, many of which will act as intermediate stations to central units. Increased power demand will result.
The growth of data factories is also focusing attention on the need to use more of what is, at the moment, often just waste heat, released into the environment unused.
The study can be viewed at www.eon.com/green-internet.