Qualcomm and Facebook seek to deliver gigabit WiFi

Facebook has been talking about its gigabit WiFi project Terragraph since 2016, but we now have a partner and a date for trials.

Terragraph aims to be an alternative to fibre broadband using 60GHz millimetre-wave wireless. It will use 802.11ay technology, designed to be the successor to 802.11ad wireless.

Yael Maguire, VP of Connectivity at Facebook, says:

“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.”

The main benefit of Terragraph is that it would be faster and lower cost to deploy than fibre as it doesn’t require pulling up the streets to run cables. Instead, a mesh network of 60GHz wireless cells would be distributed across a neighbourhood.

The ‘last mile’ into the home would be delivered via Ethernet to provide ‘two-digit’ gigabit bandwidth in the 20-30Gbps range.


(Image Credit: Facebook)

Chipset giant Qualcomm's announcement that it’s working on Terragraph represents the first major partner to join Facebook’s project.

Irvind Ghai, VP of Product Management at Qualcomm Atheros, comments:

“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.

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.”

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.

What are your thoughts on the Terragraph project? Let us know in the comments.

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