My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Alternative Energy and 4G - Green Lantern Core

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alternative Energy and 4G - Green Lantern Core


There was an old man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket;
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man –
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

Anon in the Princeton Tiger, which means Lindsworth Deer wrote this while at Princeton

The big news of the moment is that has me rocking is the news of the continuing expansion of 4G to our American cousins.

Announcements coming out of Telecom Provider Clearwire and Telecom Provider Sprint, big backers in the WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) indicate that the Big Apple and The City of Angels, specifically New York and Los Angeles, are to receive WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) coverage as stated in the article “Clearwire brings limited 4G to New York and Los Angeles”, published September 13, 2010 2:15 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

Telecom Provider AT&T and Telecom Provider Sprint, however, roared back with their own announcements about LTE (Long Term Evolution) as stated in the article “AT&T, Verizon execs talk LTE expansion”, published September 16, 2010 11:05 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In

A build over on 3G or HSDPA+ (High Speed Download Packet Access), reputed to be just as fast as WiMaX as stated in the article “Sprint, Clearwire CEO's ponder LTE for future”, published March 24, 2010 12:01 PM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010 and using the exact same WCDMA Modulation Technology, with the high Data Rates being achieved by QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation).

No doubt these Telecom Providers are jealous of our recent taste, albeit rather bitter, of 4G from Digicel Broadband as stated in the article “Digicel's 4G: A huge technology wave for J'cans”, published Sunday, August 22, 2010 By ALICIA ROACHE Sunday Finance reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

I say “bitter” as the speed is a disappointment and it appears that the Telecom Provider Digicel may in fact be throttling tormenting, usually done by such commonly known applications such as Bittorent in contravention to Network Neutrality Rules enshrined in the Telecommunications Act of 2000 that speaks to unfettered and unhindered fair access to the networks of Telecom Providers.

Still, despite this and the naivety of the so-called CEO of WiMaX, Alex Boothroyd in mentioning that phones were not to be a part of the initial launch and thus making all who read the article entitled “Digicel all set to unveil 4G Broadband”, published Friday, August 13, 2010 BY AL EDWARDS, The Jamaica Observer.

It as really because of a fear of loss of revenue from persons having a choice to use cheaper Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) from competing Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Dekal Wireless as stated in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

Ditto Nubian-1- Tech Services Limited as stated in the article “Another small player emerges in the wireless broadband market”, published Friday August 2 2010 by Mark Titus, gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner”, published Friday August 2 2010 by Mark Titus, gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner due to “jail breaking”,

“Jailbreaking”which is now legal in the United States of America as stated in the article “Apple: Jailbreaking an iPhone will (still) violate your warranty”, published Tuesday 27 July 2010 by Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and further elucidate in the article “On Call: Go ahead an jailbreak, its legal now”, published July 27, 2010 2:20 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In, (long drawn breath!) this is just the beginning.

And Alternative Energy has to play a BIG part of the future Data Network.

But as these Telecom Provider make their plans for a push towards faster speeds, one wonders at the power requirements of these new super fast Wireless Broadband Telecom Providers as well as the future of the Voice Service side of Telecoms.

This thought comes in light of the fact that at higher and higher levels of modulation using QAM, the amplifiers required have to be more linear, much as the amplifiers used in ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line), which is an implementation of QAM at higher frequencies and Cable DSL, which uses DOCSIS, a close cousin of QAM but using the HDTV compression schema to deliver Cable TV and Data Services, are linear.

This linearity requirement for amplifiers is also accompanied by a higher Q factor for the oscillator for the frequency as well as filters that can more clearly remove Granular Noise associated with stray and parasitic capacitances in the electronics, Transmission Path Noise associated with the transmission path between the tower antenna and the CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) or Dongles and Thermal Noise that is associated with temperature.

Thus, more stable cooler and less noisy Power Sources are required and cooling to temperatures close to that of below freezing will be required to keep the Thermal Noise to tolerable levels to ensure QoS (Quality of Service).

Currently power coming from Power Utility Companies is transmitted as Alternating Current (AC) and has to be converted to Direct Current (DC) in the -48 VDC range in order to be used by the Node B as Telecom Provider LIME or Telecom Provider CLARO or RBS (Radio Base Station) as Telecom Provider Digicel) calls the respective equipment that forms the Telecom Provider’s Network.

This is not even mentioning the power requirements of the Microwave Radio Network, which our American cousins call BackHaul, be they from Alcatel-Lucent or Ericsson that interconnect the various Node B to the MSC (Mobile Switching Center) will definitely require higher QAM Modulation to carry the higher bandwidth traffic in the future.

Which may thus require that the T1 connections between the ODU (Outdoor Units), which are the Klystrons behind the microwave antennas mounted on the Mobile Tower to the Microwave Radios in the Radio Cabinet, BBU (Base Band Unit) to the Microwave Radios in the Radio Cabinet, the BBU to the RRU (Radio Receiver Unit) on the tower and the RRU to the LTE antennas be Fiber Optic Connections.

Even better, to reduce noise levels in the signals to more tolerable levels, the ring in the Microwave Radio Network will also have to be Fiber Optic, though more to guarantee reliability, as at higher speeds, customer expectations of a services that is always on and reliable and providing unmatched QoS will be heightened.

However, to reduce noise coming from the power source and ensure clean stable power for this obviously more expensive electronics, Alternative Energy is unavoidable

It is thus with this in mind that I again turn to the obvious 800 pound Gorilla in the room, that being Alternative Energy. John Public, a rather world weary Technicians, is very much cognizant of the fact that these ramping up of Telecom Provider Wireless Broadband offerings by the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers in Jamaica.

Not to mention the Big Four (4) Telecom Provider AT&T, Telecom Provider Sprint, Telecom Provider T-Mobile and Telecom Provider Verizon towards 4G as was stated in the article “On call: Welcome to 4G”, published March 9, 2010 11:01 AM PST by Kent German CNET News – Dialed In.

Be it in the form of LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16m), these new kids on the block are obviously Power hungry systems, evident from the long period of time it takes to make profit from their 3G and 4G Data Networks due to the cost of paying Power Utility Companies for the usage of their power.

Thus a push towards increased efficiency will be on the cards for late 2010 going on to 2012 as the electricity used by the Telecom Provider’s Switch (a fancy description for the server that handles Voice and Data call routing and Termination) Routers, called a MGW (Media Gate Way) and the Nodes in the Network, called Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel, accounts on average for about 60% of the Telecom Providers Energy Usage.

This usage can be reduced by first doing a Power Audit of the Telecom Provider’s Network and then deciding on replacing inefficient equipment with new equipment which has a more efficient usage of Power and then Powering this equipment using Alternative Energy Sources.

Any reduction that can be done in-house before Senator James Robertson, Minister of Energy and Mining is able to coerce JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company Limited) to retrofit its generators to work with LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) as stated in the article “Government eyes LNG cure for Energy problems”, published Wednesday June 16 2010 by Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner is inescapable.

Telecom Providers, especially, among the FDI’s, albeit not squealing, are nonetheless interested in increasing their profitability by reducing energy, but are not so readily inclined to spending additional money on buying Solar/Wind installations, as it does not contribute to making revenue directly, merely to saving on expenditure on electricity.

Because of the consistent profit stream from offering Voice Services, be it Postpaid Contract, Prepaid (Postpaid in Jamaica), Pay-as-you-go (Prepaid in Jamaica) and Data Services, be it Capped or Unlimited Wired or Wireless Broadband plus the occasional VAS (Value Added Service), Telecom Providers, being of the “old School” of profit making, are less inclined and risk-averse to spend on experimentation.

Or even basic market research, most employees and management being intoxicated by the higher-than-normal lifestyle being afforded by the offering of Telecom Providers services and benefits derived thereof, from expensive overprices smart phones (the Blackberry Bold is not a smart” phone to have, FYI)

One of many reasons why most employees stay despite being stuck in a lemming-like existence of following orders and “going with the flow”, a innovation devoid culture of maintenance to keep the Switch going at all costs, as the revenue stream is guaranteed owing to the fact that they are a utility and as such are necessary for Customers to go about their normal daily lives.

Steady market that will always be around and hence a steady source of employment. Sort of like Google Employees and their main money-making spiel in their form of Google Search Engine, which has made them so complacent that now even make announcements about a integration of Google Voice and Gmail as stated in the article “Google: 1 million Gmail calls during first day”, published August 26, 2010 12:38 PM PDT by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech and in my blog article entitled “Google and Google Voice - The World is Not Enough”.

There is also the recent announcement of Google Instant as stated in the article “Google Instant promises live search results”, published 8 September 2010 last updated at 21:09 GMT By Maggie Shiels, Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley.

A rather simple yet not revolutionary UI (User Interface tweak) of the Google Search as stated in the article “Google Instant: Better but not revolutionized search”, published September 8, 2010 11:12 AM PDT by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech gets the Super Bowl Treatment (Go Miami Dolphins!). Possibly build-up to the launch of Google Me, their intended Social Network Killer of FaceBook? This is anyone’s guess……..

Surprised I was, therefore, when I came across this story: a contractor that does Cell Tower Maintenance as well as being a Mobile Telecom Provider named Core Communications is experimenting in a three (3) month trail with Wind Power for power resale to the local Power Utility Company, in no better place than Southern California.

Core Communications is one odd little Black Foot Ferret. Core Communications are slated to begin in 2010 a trial run with a wind startup named Helix Wind, that specializes in designing small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines (VWT) that can generate electricity even in wind speeds as low as 10 km/h as stated in the article “Powering cell phone towers with wind”, published November 11, 2009 11:35 AM PST by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Green Tech.

Their concept is rather simple: Telecom Provider Core Communications has a lease financing arrangement, similar to car loans as stated in the article “A financial fix for wind turbine outlay”, published August 26, 2009 6:38 AM PDT by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Green Tech to purchase small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines.

The small Vertical-axis Wind Turbines, which are used to power the Cell Towers and its RBS (Radio Base Station) or BTS (Base Transceiver Equipment), whichever is to your linguistic penchant.

Excess power generated from the powering of the cell site is sold to the Power Utility Companies and is thus able to earn Core Communications revenue, effectively making the investment not only a money saver but also a money turner for the Telecom Provider.

Albeit this test is slated to occur in 2010, with no news of its success, it is good to note that that concept would be very applicable and attractive to Telecom Provider here in Jamaica under a liberalized Energy Sector, as any additional expenditure that earns revenue for the Telecom Provider would make them more inclined to go Solar/Wind, as saving on expenditure, as far as Telecom Operators are concerned, is not real cash, being as it is not money coming directly coming from customers and may easily be gobble up by project overruns

Ironically, it is due to the inefficiencies of the management and their lack of interest in perusing a philosophy of efficiency at every stage of work, from the fuel that vehicles spent on generators to work conditions in an office and the use of air conditioning that may be wasteful – and then constantly monitoring such energy waste, often seen by management as tedious. But it can be as simple as using Transparent Plastic or Fiberglass Enclosures with the Air Conditioning Units attached or even Extractor Fans. John Public gets technical.

As most Switch Equipment from the various Telecom Equipment Vendors is already in cabinets, it is only a matter of adding Heat Extractor Fans or mini-air conditioning units in the case of the Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Digicel.

Examples of such efficient Air Conditioning Units exist, such as the DEVap (Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative) Air Conditioner as described in the article “Novel design yields energy-efficient air conditioner”, published June 17, 2010 6:24 AM PDT, by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Which according to its backers, not only is 25% to 75% energy efficient but eliminates the need for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)!

This is as the technology is based on evaporation and desiccation, evaporation to remove heat by transfer of convection heat to evaporate water from a semi-permeable membrane and desiccation to remove any moisture in the air, leaving the air both cool and dry, all done without compressors and only one fan, hence the lower energy cost claim.

In the case of Indoor Switch Equipment, which is already in a cabinet, Heat Extractor Fans are required near the top of the cabinets and at the bottom to constantly keeps air flowing.

The Switch Equipment inclusive of the MGW (Media Gateway) can be further enclosed in its entirety in a room fabricated from Transparent Plastic or Fiberglass Enclosures with a soft seal door to allow the entry of personnel to conduct their work and lights placed at the edges to define its dimensions in case of a Power outage or when the lights are turned off at nights.

An energy efficient air conditioning unit can be attached to the Transparent Plastic or Fiberglass Enclosures with extractor fans placed at the top of the Transparent Plastic or Fiberglass Enclosures to extract waste heat.

Thus it leaves the rest of the building without air conditioning, as it not necessary to have air conditioning in a building that is not necessarily occupied all the time and whose functions are controlled from a remote as is the case of Telecom Provider LIME, Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider CLARO, all of whom have such a remote controlled capabilities for their Switch Equipment in terms of their Microwave Radios (Ericsson for Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME, Alcatel-Lucent for Telecom Provider CLARO).

Additionally, Heat Extractor Fans can be placed at the top of the MSC (Mobile Switching Centers), Data Centers or the different types of Exchanges in the case of Telecom Provider LIME to extract the heat, thus reducing the ambient temperature to room temperature, as the equipment would be cooled already in its own Transparent Plastic or Fiberglass Enclosures.

Finally, to top it off, the air conditioning equipment and the Heat Extractor Fans, which of course would be chosen to be most efficient possible, would be then connected to a suitable Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine Generator or a Bloom Energy Servers as stated in the article “Bloom energy unveils fuel cell of the future”, published Thursday February 25, 9:01 am ET by Glenn Chapman, AFP Yahoo! News.

Or Search for “Bloom Energy Server” on YouTube to Power the air conditioning equipment, thus taking the Temperature Control Systems (which is what air conditioning is all about), off the grid, both for Indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel.

This optimizes the equipment for the hot and humid environment of the tropics. Eventually, with further audits, the Indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel can also be powered by a suitable Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine Generator as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source. Further improvements can thus be made to other aspects of Power consumption relating to the building itself as opposed to the equipment.

But why stop there?

Lighting can have automatic motion controlled switches to turn off lighting based on movement in the building by people so that the lights are only on when people are in the building moving about, ostensibly doing work.

The lighting systems itself should be switched to use natural lighting as much as possible, with fluorescent lighting or LED, whichever technology deliver higher luminosity coupled with lower cost and Energy Usage, a difficult task as choices abound as can be researched from the articles “GE makes LED replacement for 40-watt bulb”, published April 8, 2010 5:41 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech and the article “Start-up developes snap-in LED light”, published March 24, 2010 8:17 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

A debate over efficiency, longevity and cost as stated in the article “Are ESL bulbs better than CFL or LED?”, published September 16, 2009 8:00 AM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News - Crave and a feature on the Solar Pebble, a portable solar powered light and charger system designed for parts of Africa that are off the grid and has applications here in Jamaica as stated in the article “Solar Pebble could light the way for rural Africa”, published April 6, 2010 8:30 AM PDT, by Sharon Vaknin, CNET News – Crave.

Clearly, LED’s are the winner, albeit hurdles remain as it relates to their application, mostly relating to cost, luminosity and spread the lighting beam, particularly for in-door usage as stated in the article “LED bulbs in the home: So far, So Good”, published September 13, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech.

Lighting too, can then be taken off the grid and powered with the same Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd) Power as Tertiary Power Source.

The required increase in Power generating capacity from the Renewable Energy System to handle the additional load of lighting and electrical sockets in the Indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and CLARO otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel can be achieved.

The Backup Power Systems could be based on the Bloom Energy Server, with the ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) configured to use the Power from the Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source.

Power consumption and ambient temperature can be tracked by using a Network of Smart Meters and Smart Thermostats integrated into a so-called Smart Grid that wirelessly send information back to a central server using the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) as described in the article “Smart Meter coming to a Utility near you”, published November 2, 2009 7:32 AM PST by Martin LaMonica CNET News - Green Tech

A trend that is expected to increase in 2010 a predicted in the article “Smart-grid spending to hit US$200 billion by 2015”, published December 28, 2009 7:15 AM PST by Lance Whitney CNET News - Green Tech.

These meters would be installed on the customer side after the JPS Co meter and would allow the Telecoms Provider to track Power usage in real time for their Indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel and send them alarms whenever there are Power anomalies including increases in Power consumption and Power outages, albeit that may not occur, as the entire system is now off the grid.

If the Power generation capabilities of the Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine Generator as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power generates sufficient excess Power under a liberalizes Energy Sector in Jamaica can be resold to the Power Utility Company, which in this case is JPS Co, as stated in the article “Government, Opposition wrangle over energy”,  published Saturday  April 3, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner. This as stated in the article “Paulwell calls for number portability”, published, Wednesday April 21, 2010, Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But there is an interesting spin-off from such a massive migration of Indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and Outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider’s LIME and CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel from Power from the Power Utility Company, which in this case is JPS Co to a Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine Generator as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source, is that with significantly lower costs in terms of Power

Thus, the Telecom Provider could return to the days of providing “all-you-can-eat” uncapped Data Plans due to the lower cost of operating off the grid, both in terms of more efficient cheaper operations and lower cost as it relates to less frequent replacements of burnt out equipment due to power fluctuations usually associated with Power Utility Companies.

Alternative Energy is the Telecom Provider’s “strong tower” and is an investment in the long run that benefits the Telecom Provider with stable clean and fully auditable power usage that reduces costs which can be easily passed on to the consumer………..and thus set the stage for the expansion into LTE, but more efficiently.
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