The development of wireless technology has facilitated the wide deployment of mobile communication systems. However, studies suggest that as climate change could affect energy production, it can also undermine telecommunications development which requires increased energy consumption to drive improvement in network penetration, coverage and capacity. EU suggested that the first set of climate and energy targets for 2020 includes a 20 % cut in greenhouse gas emissions (compared with 1990 levels), 20 % of energy consumption coming from renewables and a 20 % improvement in energy efficiency . Based on the current proposals in discussion in EU institutions, the next milestone of 2030 pushes these targets to a 40 % cut in emissions, 27 % of energy coming from renewable sources and a 27 % improvement in energy efficiency (or 30 %, as recently proposed by the European Commission) compared with baseline .
Telecommunication infrastructure operated to provide broadband is part and parcel of the appliances using electricity on daily bases. At a global level, approximately 600 TWh or 3% of the world’s electrical energy is consumed by the ICTs (information and communication technologies) causing approximately 2% of the CO2 emissions in the whole world; 9% of this consumption of ICTs is caused by communication networks radio [3-6]. Within these radio communication networks, 10% of the energy is consumed by the users of terminals, while 90% is consumed by telecommunication base stations [3-6].
To make matters worse, mobile communications needs are rising from all parts of the world especially in developing countries. Radio frequency (RF) carrier signals used in these communication systems degrades as it travels through the air interface due to attenuation and interference. As a result, the range of coverage may not be as planned leading to very weak reception or even dead zones where no communication can be done. Following the aforementioned statistics and a global outcry on climate change which called a number of Presidents from all parts of the world to meet at Cop26 to discuss many issues on the same subject matter, continual deployment of huge telecommunication equipment and power transmission to the deployment sites would be critical. Instead of minimizing the usage numbers, the results would be a significant increase in energy generation to afford equipment power needs, in which carbon emissions and other gases are an obvious case.
To alleviate problem of continual power generation and distribution, the concept note proposes the design and development of a portable, solar powered, 2G - LTE cellular signal booster which work hand-in-hand with existing distance signal transmission infrastructure to improve service usability, coverage and capacity. This idea targets to maintain same mobile communications goals in developing countries as can be witnessed in rural and off-grid communities, but addressing the environmental implications associated with continual deployment of cellular Base Station (BS) and Base Transceiver Station (BTS) by mobile operators.
The device will consist of a feed antenna which serves to capture the low signal from a base station. The amplifier then repeats or boosts the signal and transfers it to a signal distributor array of antennas. The array antenna takes the repeated signal and redistributes it so the mobile phones in the vicinity can make calls and explore other data services. In this development, a weak signal (not a stronger signal, is amplified). More often than not, the feed antenna is placed in an area particularly in the direction or line of sight with a base station. Power source and efficiency of this design are the features of interest. The note proposes to provide a solar cell lining material on the surface of a circular supporting structure of the booster at a height of above 2.5 meters from the ground which harvest energy to power the booster electronics as well as recharging storage batteries. Design, construction and installation of a portable cellular signal booster with solar onboard will help to maximize cellular phone user satisfaction while promoting their environmental and socioeconomic endeavours.
Given the fact that cellular signal extenders are not a new concept but however scaling-up and integrating with green energy generating means would result in an advantageous advancement in telecommunications industry. Wide range of benefits from environmental, social and economic are given.
Ø Abundant solar energy would result in reduction of greenhouse and carbon fuel gas emissions due to power generation.
Ø Customizable to meet performance requirements of every application.
Ø Minimized vegetation destruction at site construction and electricity distribution.
Ø Low/no cost of operation, maintenance and energy generation for extended BTSs.
Ø Improved technology accessibility in remote communities.
Ø Enhanced use of social networks at large coverage.
Ø Ability to page emergency information within the community.
Ø And all mobile communication benefits would be enjoyed from urban to rural equally and efficiently.