Since the days when cell phones were first introduced, questions and concerns have been raised about whether they pose a radiation health risk to humans, and what their impact will be on the environment. Overall, the health concerns have been found groundless, but as time goes on and millions of people worldwide use cell phones, the increasing use and huge energy consumption is having a profound impact on the environment.
The largest source of energy consumption caused by cell phones is not found in personal home-based routers, but in complex DAS wireless systems, where RF signals are broadcast throughout large areas. While the concept of a wireless building has been the source of technical salvation for large businesses and buildings, inbuilding wireless solutions are also the cause of much environmental grief. Telecommunications networks account for an estimated .5 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Wireless operators are becoming more aware of their actions, and are looking for ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint on the environment.
Upgrading to More Efficient Equipment
The wireless solution is made up of many components. The main antenna that collects RF signals is located in the base station, which accounts for a large part of the network’s energy consumption. A key factor in lowering the burning up of energy is to upgrade the base station’s equipment and cooling system, using equipment that is more energy efficient. With today’s technology, new base station design and implementation can greatly reduce the amount of energy used to power the wireless DAS. Many companies that work in designing and installing distributed antenna systems will also evaluate the current system and upgrade the necessary components for a more high-tech and energy efficient wireless building.
Keeping Cooling Shelters Cool
The classic in building wireless solution has a cooling shelter for the heavy duty equipment, where air conditioners keep the equipment cool to ensure optimum efficiency. In fact, cooling shelters are part of many major systems, whether for cell phones, elevators, or some other function. This practice is effective, but the cost of cooling the shelter could cost the environment a large percentage of the system’s total energy costs. A simple thermostat and a series of strategically placed filters could greatly reduce the amount of air conditioning required to keep the equipment cool. A thermostat in the right place enables the air conditioners only when a certain temperature is reached, and filters ensure adequate circulation so that the entire room is at an even temperature.
Bringing Vintage Back
Vintage cell phones? Everyone needs the newest and most advanced cell phones and smart phones, but maybe it’s time for vintage cell phones to be en vogue. People are becoming more aware of the importance of recycling cell phones, which is a given, but even with recycling the manufacture of a new phone takes a large toll on the environment. Simply put, fossil fuels provide the energy to manufacture, transport and charge cell phones, contributing to greenhouse gases. Important mineral resources such as Bromine, Iron, Copper, and others are also depleted in the making of a cell phone. It’s time for people to start holding on to their cell phones longer, and maybe for vintage cell phones to enter the technological scene.
There’s no doubt that cell phones and wireless DAS have a huge impact on the environment. Whether a business owner, manager of a large building, or simple cell phone user, it’s up to consumers to reduce the effect cell phones have on planet Earth.
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