Qualcomm said today it will work with Facebook to support Facebook Terragraph technology, a high-speed wireless offering designed for urban areas that Facebook has likened to “fiber in the air.” Qualcomm said it will integrate Terragraph technology in its pre-802.11 ay Wi-Fi chipsets.

Facebook and Qualcomm said they expect to begin trials of the integrated solution in mid-2019.

The 802.11 ay standard aims to boost the performance of Wi-Fi technology and is one element of Facebook Terragraph technology.

Facebook Terragraph Technology
Terragraph technology is designed to operate in an unlicensed portion of the millimeter wave band at 60 GHz. It uses multi-point multi-hop wireless technology based on client and distribution nodes designed for installation on what Facebook calls “street furniture” such as lamp posts and streetlights.

The idea, as Yael Maguire, Facebook vice president of connectivity, explains in a video posted on the Terragraph web page, is to use the infrastructure of the city to create a network that can support “a really dense deployment” of access nodes and to offer speeds comparable to what fiber can support at considerably lower cost.

According to the Terragraph website, developers envision providing gigabit connectivity to single- or multi-family dwellings and 10 Gbps connectivity to apartment buildings and businesses and to support events.

facebook terragraph technology
Facebook Terragraph Nodes (Source: Facebook Code website)

“Cities are the center of education and opportunities for jobs,” comments Maguire in the Terragraph video. “The trend is toward more and more urbanization.”

He notes in the video that the technology will need a “rich ecosystem of partners,” including cities that will need to make infrastructure available to support the technology and internet service providers that would install the technology.

A press release about the Facebook/ Qualcomm deal noted that Qualcomm has optimized its technology for use in outdoor backhaul applications by introducing enhancements such as a TDMA-based protocol, time synchronized nodes, channel bonding and a massive antenna array to optimize performance of its new chipset in urban areas.

Facebook previously announced that Nokia would supply wireless passive optical network (WPON) technology for use with Terragraph.

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