JEN project

The JEN project (2023-2027) is part of the PEPR Future Networks.

This work benefits from a government grant managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the France 2030 program, reference "ANR-22-PEFT-0008".

Summary

Access to the Internet is regarded by many as a fundamental right as stated by the ‘Joint declaration on freedom of expression and the Internet’ published by the UN in 2011. Besides, communication networks and ICT in general are often presented as required means to reduce the environmental impact of various industry sectors (e.g., energy, transport, agriculture, etc.). On the other hand, the deployment of new generations of mobile broadband networks (e.g., 4G in 2010 and 5G in 2020) has been so far the common practice of increasing the communication resources of wireless access networks. Although this approach consisting of adding to the existing mobile broadband infrastructure a new one has proven its efficiency in terms of performance for end users, its energy cost, and more generally its environmental impact, have not been much documented, and are raising serious concerns.

The first scientific studies on 5G networks relying on real deployments and experimental campaigns show worrying energy consumption levels and performance below expectations, resulting in poor energy efficiency. Moreover, this new generation of mobile network goes along with the massive deployment of IoT devices, devices whose consumption may be low, but whose embodied energy is significant. Furthermore, the increasing use of wireless communications also induces concerns about the electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure despite the existing protection limits. Thus, minimizing the EMF exposure is more and more a key question in new technologies deployment to respect the French Law.

EMF exposure has been part of public debates since many years, while the energy consumption of cellular networks became an important society issue with the deployment of 5G networks. However, this debate was supported by very little scientific information. The different energy consumption models making the headlines were proposed by non-scientific organizations, showing striking differences of up to 1000x from one model to another. Yet, as stated by the 12th Sustainable Development Goal of United Nations, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns is crucial, and reducing energy consumption and electronic waste is urgent.

In the NF-JEN project, we propose to develop just enough networks: network whose dimension, performance, resource usage and energy consumption are just enough to satisfy users’ needs. Along with designing energy-efficient and sober networks, we will provide multi-indicators models that could help policy-makers and inform the public debate.