The smart energy infrastructure management system

Motivation and Challenges

Since the convergence on mobile and fixed networks becomes one of the top priorities in telecommunications industry, telecom operators keep investing on network infrastructure to enhance broadband services. Installing the energy infrastructure is nearly 30% of the investment cost but the energy infrastructure is not a direct revenue generator for operators. The operators need a smart energy management solution to have the infrastructure at the best cost and to operate on zero touch basis without compromising the service quality. SYNERGY presents the unique platform to address the challenges and leveraging operational excellence and saving opportunities.

Zero Touch Approach to Network Energy Infrastructure Management

Typical energy infrastructure consists of power supplies, batteries, cooling systems, diesel generators, smart meters etc. from multiple vendors unlike telecom equipment. It is crucial to know about existing infrastructure capacity to make a precise resource dimensioning during new capacity or technology rollout process. There are thousands of devices from multiple vendors subject to the infrastructure management in the field. The vendors provide their own management and inventory tools at various maturity levels. Those decentralized tools with different user interfaces and parameters do not help engineering teams to optimize either the investment or operations.

Field activities to protect the infrastructure (local parameter changes, battery tests etc.) and to achieve high network availability require high number of teams and consume time. Network operations are needed to be redesigned by data collected from the field onto a single platform to reflect whole energy infrastructure insight. This enables the operations to focus on pain points and to be organized efficiently to achieve availability target.

Since energy consumption is an OPEX concern for the operators as they extend their technologies and services, the consumption should be optimized by automated algorithms.

All these requirements are addressed to a smart energy management tool.

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The devices in the field support management interfaces such as SNMP and MODBUS. SYNERGY system establishes the communication with the devices over TCP/IP, RTU over IP or Serial (RTU/ASCII). SYNERGY collects information from 475 data points and stores in various databases to meet different historical data requirements. Remote connection and data fetching algorithms run in the backend. The system runs on Linux servers and can be deployed easily. Also, a user-friendly web interface presents device monitoring, administration, alarms, reports, and user management at frontend. Once the two-way communication is established, the system queries device specific data points every five minutes and stores the collected information (temperature, load current, voltage, alarms, status etc.) in the database for various purposes.

Value Proposal – CAPEX Optimization

Remote Management - Main Functions

Autonomous remote management sends commands and parameter sets as per different site profiles with following actions.

  • Battery management parameter updates so that distributed power systems run with standard settings and to eliminate user mistakes (automatically every 4 hours) for sites with different load levels and battery types (Li-Ion, VRLA etc.)
  • Remote battery tests that can be started for thousands of sites simultaneously or as per scheduled
  • Hybrid operation control (freecooling/airconditioning) and seasonal auto parameter updates   for cooling devices to reduce power consumption
  • Diesel generator start-up algorithm to reduce fuel consumption by considering site temperature and environmental conditions

The system provides an alarm monitoring screen for 1st level operation purposes.

Value Proposal – Operational Excellence

The battery tests are essential maintenance activity for a sustainable battery lifecycle. All batteries are strongly recommended to be tested at least twice in a year. In order to realize this, one maintenance engineer should visit the base station or site and conduct the battery test. A typical test duration is 3-4 hours. If we consider 25,000 locations which takes:

  • Battery test duration:  4 hours
  • Access to each site:   1 hour
  • Base stations to be visited:  25,000
  • Yearly tests:  2
  • 1 engineer x (4 hours + 1 hour) x 25,000 sites x 2 tests/year = 250,000 man-hours/year

Thanks to SYNERGY’s battery test functionality, the tests would be performed remotely by "zero touch network management" concept. In total, a mobile operator would save 250,000 operational man-hour annually.

Analytics & Reporting

The information collected from the data points is aggregated to hourly values to present insights and decision support items such as

  • Rectifier/UPS average load, voltage, and instant power per device or site to determine sites with high power load
  • Number of existing and unnecessary modules to detect spare modules for CAPEX optimization purposes. Spare modules are shifted to other sites that need more power capacity. This also increases site energy efficiency as power modules operate at its highest efficiency at higher loads.
  • Capacity usage graphs to identify where modules are excessive/short
  • Power consumption reports to compare with energy invoice and avoid excessive billing
  • Battery test results to identify battery aging and site backup capacity. This information has a major impact on network availability.
  • Energy outage characteristics reflecting action areas on outage duration on site/region/network basis
  • AC phase failure reports to identify sites with poor grid quality
  • Portable/stationary diesel generator operation archive to calculate diesel usage during site outage for environmental sustainability purposes
  • Diesel generator logs indicating fuel level, remaining time for maintenance etc.
  • Site temperature history to optimize cooling capacity
  • Freecooling and air conditioning device operation logs to calculate how much power is used by telecom equipment and power usage efficiency on site basis
  • Energy infrastructure inventory and connection status

Value Proposal – Energy KPIs

Case Study - TURKCELL

  • %20 reduction in battery investment cost
  • %5 decrease in energy-related availability losses
  • Keeping rectifiers in optimum efficiency zone: TURKCELL continuously monitors rectifiers to keep them in optimum efficiency zone. By removing excess power system capacity, existing inventory is re-used in network and electric consumption is reduced by %0.5
  • ROI < 1 year: Considering those savings and reduction in availability losses, TURKCELL managed to return the investment in less than a year.
  • %5 increase in battery life: With SYNERGY, TURKCELL increased battery life by %5
  • Interpreted information to field technicians: High turnover is common in sub-contractors. This creates various levels of competencies in field-technicians. During daily decision making, unexperienced staff may have a hard time deciding what the root cause of the problem is, orwhich problem to act first. With SYNERGY, interpreted information is provided, so that the differences in competency does not effect the daily decision making.
  • OPEX Savings by Battery-Generator Integration: Using SYNERGY, TURKCELL could adjust generators to start working based on remaining battery capacities. This increases battery life and reduces fuel consumption by %7.