Facebook and Qualcomm partner to bring faster internet to cities


Facebook and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, are going to work together to bring faster WiFi to cities. The Terragraph technology that Facebook announced in 2016 at their annual developer conference F8 will now get Qualcomm chipsets. Qualcomm will add 60 GHz tech to the chipsets it is going to make in the future. 

Facebook’s Terragraph is a 60 GHz “multi-node wireless system focused on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas.” The advantage of this technology is that it will – at a fraction of the cost of fibre deployments – allow operators to improve the speed, efficiency, and quality of internet connectivity.

Terragraph four sector distribution node (left) and Terragraph prototype node (right). (Image: Facebook)

“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,” announced Qualcomm in a statement.

The Qualcomm announcement states what Facebook’s VP of Connectivity, Yael Maguire, had to say on the subject, “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.”

Neither Facebook nor Qualcomm mentioned the markets they are going to be targeting. However, Facebook, in its announcement about Terragraph in 2016, had mentioned that the 60 GHz band had traditionally been avoided due to its high absorption of oxygen and water, but countries such as US, UK, Germany, Japan, China, and South Korea saw the benefits of making this a part of the V-brand (the spectrum which is unlicensed and similar to Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands).

With trials only starting next year, there will be perhaps more information from Facebook on which markets it is going to target sometime soon.