Dynamic Resource Provisioning for Energy Efficiency in Wireless Access Networks: a Survey and an Outlook
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Traditionally, energy efficiency aspects have been included in the wireless access network design space only in the context of power control aimed at interference mitigation, and for the increase of the terminal battery lifetime. Energy consumption of network components has also, for a long time, not been considered an issue, neither in equipment design, nor in network planning and management. However, in recent years, with the user demand increasing at nearly exponential pace, and margins rapidly shrinking, concerns about energy efficiency have been raised, with the objective to reduce network operational costs (not to mention the environmental issues). Installing more energyefficient hardware does not seem to fully solve the problem, since wireless access networks are almost invariably (over)provisioned with respect to the peak user demand. This means that efficient resource management schemes, capable of controlling how much of the network infrastructure is actually needed and which parts can be temporarily powered off to save energy, can be extremely effective and provide quite large cost reductions. Considering that most of the energy in wireless access networks is consumed in the radio part, a dynamic provisioning of wireless access network resources is crucial, to achieve energy-efficient operation. The consensus on this approach in the research community has been wide in the last few years, and a large number of solutions was proposed. In this paper, we survey the most important proposals, considering the two most common wireless access technologies, namely cellular and WLAN. Main features of the proposed solutions are analyzed and compared, with an outlook on their applicability in typical network scenarios that also include cooperation between both access technologies. Moreover, we provide an overview of the practical implementation aspects that must be addressed to achieve truly energy-efficient wireless access networks, including current standardization- work, and trends in the development of energy-efficient hardware.