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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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images
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We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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