Proactive content caching using surplus renewable energy: A win–win solution for both network service and energy providers
Future Generation Computer Systems
School of Engineering
In recent years, the unprecedented uptake of streaming services has forced the telecommunication industry to rethink their traditional approach to delivering broadband services. Streaming services contribute to peak traffic load and slow down Internet speeds during the rush hours. Proactive content caching, which stores popular content in helper nodes at the network edge, can help to reduce the peak traffic load. While the focus of proactive caching so far is on network traffic management, the prospect of utilizing surplus renewable energy for content caching has not been adequately addressed. This research shows that proactive content caching using surplus renewable energy has the potential to reduce energy-related costs and bring significant benefits for both network and energy providers. Our research is based on the hypothesis that if proactive caching is performed when solar energy is available at daytime, energy related-costs can be significantly reduced. We formulate the research problem of finding the optimum time for proactive caching as an optimization problem, and minimize energy-related costs. Numerical analysis shows that the proposed approach not only provides significant economic benefits to service providers and households, but also reduces peak-to-average disparity of the energy load and the Internet traffic load.