Chip maker Qualcomm and Facebook announced they are working together to deliver high-speed internet connectivity with Facebook’s Terragraph technology through the development of a multi-node wireless system based on 60GHz technology from Qualcomm Technologies.
Terragraph is a 60 GHz, multi-node wireless system focused on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas. Utilising commercial off-the-shelf components and leveraging the cloud for intensive data processing, the Terragraph system is optimised for high-volume, low-cost production.
Working with leading operators and manufacturers, this terrestrial connectivity system aims to improve the speed, efficiency and quality of internet connectivity around the world at only a fraction of the cost of fibre deployments. Qualcomm Technologies will integrate its QCA6438 and QCA6428 family of pre-802.11ay chipsets with Facebook's Terragraph technology.
This effort will help enable manufacturers to build 60GHz mmWave solutions using the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum and provide Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to offer consumers in urban areas access to high-speed broadband connections. The companies expect to begin trials of the integrated solution mid-2019.
“Our collaboration with Facebook will bring advanced 11ad and pre-11ay technologies to market increasing broadband penetration and enabling operators to reduce their capex for last mile access” said Irvind Ghai, Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
“Terragraph cloud controller and TDMA architecture coupled with Qualcomm Technologies solution’s 10 Gbps link rate, low power consumption and early interference mitigation techniques will help make gigabit connectivity a reality,” Ghai added.
Delivering gigabits of capacity requires multiple gigahertz of spectrum via frequency reuse. Although 60 GHz has traditionally been avoided due to its high absorption of oxygen and water, countries such as the US, Britain, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan, and others saw the benefit of making this part of the spectrum — also known as “V-band” — unlicensed, similar to the Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Up to 7 GHz of bandwidth is available in the 60 GHz band, and forward-thinking countries like the United States are seeking input to expand this to a total of 14 GHz.
Facebook’s Terragraph technology supports broadband connectivity through a network based on millimeter-wave wireless backhaul. It is based on the pre-802.11ay standard with enhancements provided by the Qualcomm Technologies’ chipset and the integrated software between Facebook and Qualcomm Technologies to support efficient outdoor operation and avoid interference in dense environments.
Specifically, Qualcomm Technologies has optimised its solution for outdoor backhaul by introducing a number of enhancements such as TDMA-based protocol, time synchronized nodes, channel bonding and massive antenna array among others, to overcome large obstacles in dense urban environments, deliver high-capacity coverage, and the potential to reduce costs and time to market.
“We’re excited to work with Qualcomm Technologies to advance the adoption of pre-802.11ay and 802.11ad 60GHz technologies and build a robust ecosystem of interoperable solutions based on Terragraph. With Terragraph, our goal is to enable people living in urban areas to access high-quality connectivity that can help create new opportunities and strengthen communities,” added Yael Maguire, Vice President of Connectivity, Facebook.
As of now there’s no official statement on exactly who those carriers will be, but given previous partnerships, it’s likely to be Nokia and Samsung.