ISE EXPO is the Information & Communications Technology industry’s premier educational event for wireline and wireless network transformation. Each year, ISE EXPO provides a robust set of educational seminars tailored to telecom professionals and Plug Power has been involved since 2010. At the August 2018 event, Plug Power’s Darin Painter, executive sales director for stationary power, spoke to a crowded room about how trends in LTE networks and backup power are meshing to morph best practices for telecom power.
Telecom is an industry immersed in change, as it seeks to make communication better, faster and more robust. Traditional wireless and wireline telecommunication sites have served multiple generations of communications equipment, which was not always efficient in terms of power draw. Diesel generators have been used to provide backup power to these locations for many years.
As manufacturers of communications equipment have increased the power efficiency and carriers have moved to newer technology, telecom sites have reduced their power and space requirements. This has opened the door to technologies including fuel cells, which can provide a lowest capital cost solution as well as higher reliability and lower maintenance requirements.
Telecom carriers like AT&T, Sprint and Southern Linc are continuing to increase their involvement with sustainability for a variety of reasons, as noted by a blog written by Renewable Choice Energy and summarized below. What this comes down to is a long-term trend toward sustainability, not just a blip on the radar.
As seen below, fuel cell solutions, like Plug Power’s GenSure product line, are very well suited to a variety of telecom network strategies, including the following:
- Wireless tower base stations, which provide cell phone service to a fixed geographic area
- Cells-on-wheels (COWs), which provide temporary network and wireless coverage to locations where cellular coverage is inadequate, including sporting events, disaster recovery areas, etc.
- DSL nodes, providing high speed internet to home and work locations
- Alternative energy sites, where the fuel cells act as a hybrid with solar and/or wind power to augment or replace grid power in areas where the grid is less reliable or absent
Additionally, larger fuel cells provided by other manufacturers can be viable solutions for central offices, larger buildings that house communications equipment that consolidates and manages signals from a larger geographic area.
Progress continues to be a constant for telecommunications professionals – and that’s not likely to change. Robust, total solution packages that utilize sustainable energy solutions including fuel cells have become a cost-effective reality for many aspects of the network. With fuel cell solutions at more than 2,500 communications sites, Plug Power is a valued partner to the telecommunications industry – something we’re quite proud of.