As with any major technological advancement, the introduction of 5G is one that has been met with hype, speculation and hypercritics.

As it is gradually rolled out, there is a growing excitement over faster and denser streams of data and the extent to what it can enable. Data centres will be key to the infrastructure that will make this work, but what does it mean for existing infrastructure and how are they preparing for the switch?

Existing data centres will need to prepare for greater storage capabilities and the ability to cope with an increased demand for content. The lower latency rates as a result of 5G technology means users can access online content 10-100 times more quickly than its 4G predecessor, making buffering videos a thing of the past and drastically reducing the amount of time it takes for a webpage to load.

Also apparent is that that 5G will enhance data efficiency, providing users with nearly 100 times higher transmission rates than is seen with 4G networks. Data centres are needing to look at introducing operating methods to manage resource-intensive data without compromising on the energy consumption and cost factor.

Although there is no doubting the introduction of 5G will enable new industries and revitalise old ones, there are some obstacles to overcome in order to make data centres future proof such as updating their critical power infrastructure.

As existing data centres expand so will their thirst for energy and the need to increase capacity in their critical power infrastructure. This is triggered by the new technical possibilities for companies and consumers that 5G will allow. For instance, autonomous cars will require a more sophisticated infrastructure than mixed reality applications. Studies have shown that 5G will further increase the already growing electricity demands in data centres by up to 3.8TWh by the year 2025.

The industry is also seeing more local data centres being set up to cope with the increased load and eliminating downtime has never been more of a priority. Specialist advice in the area of critical power infrastructure is incredibly important so that not only the day 1 power requirements are being considered. With technology advancing ever more quickly, thought and planning must be given to ensure the chosen UPS system can grow and adapt as the data centre matures and changes.

Modular UPS systems allow for this flexibility, with the ability to populate a frame with additional modules, increasing the total capacity as an when required. An example of this would be the Huawei UPS 5000 Series. These frames can be installed with a day 1 capacity of 50kW but with company growth this could be doubled in 18 months’ time with the potential for the same again to happen in another 18 months without having to find extra floor space or adding more caballing. Who knows, we could even see the evolution of 5G in to 6G by then.

Modular UPS systems also mean N+1 redundancy can easily be achieved. If any single module fails, the remaining modules in the frame will continue to fully support the load, without interruption, until the hot swappable module is replaced.

Further advantages include the ability to parallel additional frames as they become fully populated, achieving an overall capacity of upwards of 6.4MW.

There will be a number of new and unknown obstacles for data centres to overcome in the rolling out of 5G. To ensure continuous uptime, updating and installing future proof back up power provisions should be addressed as a priority.

Having worked in the industry for over 25 years, Power Control has formed long standing relationships with prominent UPS manufacturers. As a Value Added UPS partner for Huawei, we work in close collaboration with their networking energy team to deliver their energy efficient, small footprint, modular UPS systems up to 6.4MW.