We are examining the fundamental mechanisms by which telecom networks operate. Our research shows that although today’s networks are vastly more energy efficient than their predecessors, our research indicates that there is still tremendous potential for improvement. It is this realization that is motivating us to re-examine and revaluate the fundamental principles and technologies on which networks are based with an eye towards radically reducing the power required to transmit information – over wires, fibers, through the air, or via means we have yet to conceive.
We recently developed network architectures that can reduce the overall demand for power while providing increased network functionality.
Bell Labs research has produced new higher energy-efficient amplifier designs, remote radio heads and intelligent antenna arrays for mobile communications. Our research has found, for example, that the energy needed to power cellular networks can be reduced by combining arrays of tiny femto radio base stations with a few large coverage macro stations.
Increased use of photonics in components is resulting in decreased heat generation, which means that less energy is lost as heat.
We are examining new techniques to improve thermal management performance and reduce the energy required to cool equipment. Our recent development include: Thermal interface materials to more rapidly conduct heat; Vapor chambers to better spread heat; Heat sinks to more efficiently dissipate heat.
We are exploring advanced manufacturing technologies to enhance thermal contacts and optimize air flow patterns. Using sophisticated thermal tools, we have developed a new generation of equipment cabinets that offer more functionality to users while reducing the energy required for cooling. One result of these ongoing development efforts is the Alcatel-Lucent Modular Cooling Solution.