Information technologies have become an integral part of our society, having a profound socio-economic impact, and enriching our daily lives with a plethora of services from media entertainment (e.g. video) to more sensitive and safety-critical applications (e.g. e-commerce, e-Health, first responder services, etc.). If analysts’ prognostications are correct, just about every physical object we see (e.g. clothes, cars, trains, etc.) will also be connected to the networks by the end of the decade (Internet of Things). Also, according to a Cisco forecast of the use of IP (Internet Protocol) networks by 2017, Internet traffic is evolving into a more dynamic traffic pattern. The global IP traffic will correspond to 41 million DVDs per hour in 2017 and video communication will continue to be in the range of 80 to 90% of total IP traffic. This market forecast will surely spur the growth in mobile traffic with current predictions suggesting a 1000x increase over the next decade.

On the other hand, energy consumption represents in today’s network a key source of expenditure for operators that will reach alarming levels with the increase in mobile traffic, as well as a factor that is widely expected to diminish market penetration for next-generation handsets as they become more sophisticated and power hungry.

These two attributes in synergy have urged operators to rethink the way they design, deploy and manage their networks in order to take significant steps towards reducing ...

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