Facebook is teaming up with Qualcomm in an effort to bring its gigabit wireless internet project to the masses. The Terragraph Project is a 60GHz multi-node, millimeter-wavelength wireless system the two tech giants hope to have operating on a trial basis by mid-2019.
Terragraph makes use of the 802.11ay WLAN standard and can transmit data at 20 to 40 Gbps at a distance of 300 to 500 meters. The aim is to provide “speed, efficiency and quality” internet service around the globe in even dense urban areas that are typically hard to [wirelessly] serve. The pair is also touting that Terragraph will allow for rapid deployments at a pace much greater than fiber infrastructure at a fraction of the cost.
With the help of Qualcomm, Terragaph will incorporate a number of optimizations including a TDMA-based protocol, channel bonding, a massive antenna array and time-synchronized nodes in order to increase throughput in urban environments, where communications can be hampered by tall buildings and other large obstacles.
At this point, there is no indication of where Facebook and Qualcomm will launch their first trials, but we’ll definitely keep you updated once those details are made available.
If you recall, Google is also attempting to deliver similar “last-mile” wireless internet connectivity courtesy of Webpass, and is serving customers in Chicago, Denver, Miami, Oakland/East Bay, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Google Fiber showed early promise with [physical] fiber connections to homes and businesses that were lit up in cities like Salt Lake City, Utah and San Antonio, Texas, but Google has run into difficulties with some municipalities (mainly due to entrenched competitors) which has delayed or in some cases completely thwarted its rollouts.