Improving Sustainability in the 5G Network: How Intel is Helping Operators Go Green

Published on 21 Jun 2024

Intel Power Manager

Many telecom operators aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. According to GSMA, 62 operators have pledged to reduce their direct and indirect emissions by 2030, representing 46% of connections and 61% of global industry revenue. Intel is committed to sustainability, working with various organizations to lessen environmental impacts. Intel aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2040, responding to the urgent need for climate action.

Understanding Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions

Emissions are categorized into three groups: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.Scope 1 emissions come from sources directly controlled by a company, such as factories and vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are indirect, resulting from the energy a company buys. For example, electricity from a coal power plant creates Scope 2 emissions. Scope 3 emissions include all other indirect emissions, such as those from the company’s supply chain. This includes emissions from producing and transporting products the company buys, and from customers using the company's products.

Reducing Energy Consumption in the Network

Intel's processors help operators reduce energy use. The 4th Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors improve energy efficiency, enabling higher performance at the same power consumption as previous models. Features like C-states and P-states allow processor cores to save energy by either sleeping when idle or operating at lower frequencies when less power is needed. This means the processor uses less power without sacrificing performance, crucial for energy-intensive networks.

Intel® Infrastructure Power Manager for 5G Core

Intel has developed the Infrastructure Power Manager for 5G Core, a software solution that adjusts power states of processor cores based on network traffic. This innovation saves up to 30% in power consumption while maintaining key performance metrics. Tested with SK Telecom, the solution showed a 93% performance-per-watt improvement compared to previous platforms. It ensures that processors use power efficiently, even when traffic surges unexpectedly.

Case Studies: SK Telecom and Nokia

SK Telecom and Intel's collaboration led to significant power savings. Their tests showed up to 42% power savings in the user plane function (UPF) over 24 hours, with a 34% saving in the control plane. Similarly, Nokia's tests demonstrated up to 40% average CPU power savings over 24 hours. These collaborations highlight the potential for significant energy savings without compromising network performance.

Calculating CO2 Emission Reductions

Intel's solutions also help reduce CO2 emissions. For example, running a 5G core network on 5,000 dual-socket servers with Intel’s Power Manager could save over 5,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. This calculation assumes the use of coal-generated power and highlights the potential environmental benefits of Intel's technology.

NEC’s Power Reduction Achievements

NEC used Intel’s technology to cut power use by over 30% in their UPF for 4G and 5G networks. By dynamically managing processor power, NEC achieved these savings in near-commercial environments. This collaboration underscores Intel’s impact on reducing power consumption and supporting energy-efficient networks.

Reducing Scope 3 Emissions

Intel’s sustainability efforts extend to helping customers reduce their Scope 3 emissions. Intel aims for 100% renewable energy in its operations by 2030 and net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040. These efforts not only reduce Intel's environmental impact but also help customers lower their emissions.


Intel is committed to making telecom networks more sustainable. Through innovations like the Infrastructure Power Manager for 5G Core, Intel helps operators save energy and reduce emissions. These efforts are essential in the fight against climate change, ensuring that 5G networks are both powerful and green.

To learn more about Intel’s efforts and the detailed solutions available, download the whitepaper now.


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