We typically take for granted the amount of work needed for a simple phone call to occur between two mobile phones. Behind the scenes, hundreds, if not thousands of messages are communicated between a mobile handset, radio tower, and countless servers to enable your phone call to go smoothly. A critical element of this process is the network radio towers, which are responsible for monitoring and handling all communications for mobile phones in their territories. However, these radio towers overlap in coverage and in some cases significantly, while on the other hand demand on them can increase or decrease rapidly depending on the time of day or, for instance, if an event is occurring in a particular area. This overlap is an operational requirement of the mobile network, however, during low demand periods it could represent an opportunity to save energy.
Researchers at the Etisalat BT Innovation Center have found a way to manage the load on each tower. They have developed an algorithm that relates to the assignment of mobile clients to radio towers so that the number of active towers is minimized, thus saving power consumption and reducing idle time for particular towers. This is done dynamically during run-time, allowing more efficient use of infrastructure to minimize cost of operational upkeep and running cost of the system.