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Facebook’s 60-GHz Terragraph Technology Moves From Trials to Commercial Gear

The software suite allows base stations to connect to one another in small groups

4 min read
Photo: Facebook
Wireless world: Technicians in Mikebuda, Hungary, install Terragraph-enabled small-cell base stations for a trial that began in May 2018.
Photo: Facebook

For years, Facebook has been developing a technology to improve the way data is organized and routed in wireless networks. Now, that technology is being integrated into commercially available 60-gigahertz small-cell base stations. And if service providers sign on, it could soon help deliver over-the-air Internet to homes and businesses around the world.

The Facebook technology, called Terragraph, provides a way for a cluster of base stations broadcasting at 60 GHz to autonomously manage and distribute traffic among themselves. If one base station goes down, another can take over in an instant—and they can work together to find the most efficient path for information en route.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
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Carl De Torres
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When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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