Glass instead of copper - for the sake of the environment
Sleep tight, internet! Why the network goes to sleep and how this helps protect the climate
When the sun gives way to the starry sky, we human beings are not the only ones to take our well-deserved night’s rest. When we go to sleep, the network goes to sleep too. Well, it closes one eye, at least. After all, we can, of course, still make phone calls, send emails, and shop online during the night – not to mention contact the emergency services at any time if need be. But when most people are asleep, we obviously use the network much less, so some of the network capacity is set to sleep mode too. This saves a lot of electricity. The savings are substantial, especially since we have been applying this measure all across Germany since late 2019. The result is savings of around 13 gigawatt hours each year. This is good for the climate. When the consumption of green energy in the network is reduced, this excess electricity can be diverted to other places where electricity from coal-fired power stations that pollute the environment might otherwise have to be used.
How artificial intelligence is helping make the network greener
Besides the energy-saving techniques described above, we also hope to make increasing use of artificial intelligence in the future to make our network even more efficient and sustainable. Based on an inconceivably large volume of data, AI can calculate forecasts to predict how much bandwidth will be needed in which sectors of the network and when. It may help to imagine the technology a bit like a highway, with individual “lanes” that can be switched on and off. When only a small volume of data traffic is anticipated, lanes can be deactivated accordingly. Each time a lane is switched off, valuable electricity is saved. Networked sensors simultaneously record the actual data traffic and quickly activate additional lanes if more bandwidth than estimated by the AI is unexpectedly needed.
Artificial intelligence could save much more electricity than night mode does. There is another advantage, too – the AI can also be used to monitor different quality parameters. This means the network can be operated more efficiently, but without any detrimental impact on its speed.
We are expanding our fiber-optic network and 5G at record speed, and we have more than just purely economic considerations in mind here. After all, we consider the expansion of our networks to be an integral part of our responsibility to society. Everyone should be able to participate in the opportunities that digitalization brings – but to be able to participate, people need fast, high-performance internet access. This is why, in 2022, we invested some 21 billion euros in our network across the Group. At the same time, we are on the way to making our green network more and more environmentally friendly. The new 5G mobile standard is opening up whole new dimensions for a sustainable future.
5 fabulous facts about
5 fabulous facts about 5G
5G does not simply
make everything much
faster. It will also make our
lives more sustainable, safer, and
simpler. And much more, besides.
5G makes surfing the net a much smoother experience100X
How long does it take to download a two-hour movie onto your smartphone?
5G makes our smart homes much smarter still
Live a safer, more environmentally friendly life in the 5G smart city
5G makes our electricity smart and green – even during “dark doldrums”
Electricity mix, 2022
In 2022, thanks to a major increase in the solar sector, the share of renewable energy in Germany was around 46.3 percent.