Though they work behind the scenes, the task of the fans is all the more important: they ensure that the systems in the network operators’ nodes do not overheat. Around the world, countless control cabinets lay the groundwork for data traffic: They relay phone calls between the mobile and land line networks for transport data, even across long distances.
For years, telecommunications providers have used DC fans in these cabinet-sized units. “Compared to AC technology, these fans are very powerful and energy-efficient,” says Stefan Schneider of Fan Product Marketing at ebm-papst. “Therefore, the benefits of a switch to EC fans would not justify the effort and expense.” Despite this, increased efficiency is always at the very top of customers’ wish lists. “With innovative aerodynamics and motors and electronics technologies in our S-Force generation of fans, we were able to obtain a double-digit increase in efficiency.” Moreover, it is important that the fans have high electromagnetic compatibility so that they do not interfere with telephone signals.
This is becoming more important all the time, as the volume of data has been growing exponentially for years. In 2009 alone, worldwide data traffic was some 40 million gigabytes — an increase of 247 percent over the previous year. Thanks to smartphones, people use their mobile phones not only to make calls, but also to send e-mails and stream videos online. This growth trend has long been visible around the world and is by no means limited to the leading industrial nations.
Withstanding wind and rain
In the frozen tundra of Russia and the Sahara desert, developers have to focus on another aspect: weather-resistance. Mobile phone transmission towers, known as base stations, have to deliver the same level of constant output, even under drastically harsh conditions. These fans are adapted specifically to these operating conditions. “For outdoor installations, we use DC fans that we have tested thoroughly,” Schneider says. Therefore, devices from ebm-papst can cope with extreme temperatures equally well as with precipitation or salty air in coastal regions. ebm-papst regularly outperforms the applicable industry standards in these areas.