Fifth-generation wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular. Consequently, there is an ongoing debate about their environmental impact. But if they cannot deliver on the promise of a greener environment, what can?
Wireless carriers globally embrace fifth-generation wireless networks (5G), claiming faster speeds and reduced latency as some of the main benefits. However, the environmental impact of the technology is less well understood. Isolation and remote work, initially triggered and later normalised by the pandemic, exponentially increase the demand for digital communication. The information and communications technology sector currently accounts for about 3-4% of the global carbon footprint. With data traffic expected to increase by about 60% a year globally, so will the emissions coming from the industry.
What are the concerns?
First, building the required infrastructure to support 5G networks brings sustainability risks linked to mining and refining minerals and the subsequent manufacture of equipment. Conservation and circular economy principles are still in their infancy in the field of 5G development. Additionally, there will be a need to deploy more but smaller cell towers because of the shooter distances that millimetre waves can travel. Although smaller cells consume less energy, the overall network consumption will likely still go up. Although 5G is undeniably more energy-efficient per data unit, experts explain that these efficiency gains will not translate into a net reduction in energy consumption. Ultimately, even if 5G can be a part of a sustainable world, it will not solve climate change.
What are the alternatives?
Instead, some wireless networks such as Dish and Rakuten are turning to the cloud to lower costs. Although the primary motivation seems to be commercial, such moves can benefit the environment too. For instance, our decentralised Cudo Compute cloud ecosystem can help accomplish both objectives. On the one hand, we offer up to ten times lower operating costs than hyperscale cloud providers. On the other hand, we do this responsibly and sustainably by committing to carbon neutrality and off-setting all our emissions.
Therefore, if you could meet your computing needs in a cheaper and more environmentally responsible way, why would you choose otherwise?
How can you make a difference?
If you are a data centre and/or cloud service provider with global locations, contact us now!
If you want to create a more decentralised, sustainable, and connected world together, you can help us realise our vision!
The Cudos Network is a layer 1 blockchain and layer 2 computation and oracle network designed to ensure decentralised, permissionless access to high-performance computing at scale and enable scaling of computing resources to 100,000’s of nodes. Once bridged onto Ethereum, Algorand, Polkadot, and Cosmos, Cudos will enable scalable compute and Layer 2 Oracles on all of the bridged blockchains.
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