Qualcomm gets involved with Facebook’s Terragraph FWA project

Facebook reckons fixed wireless over 60 GHz is the answer to a number of urban connectivity challenges and Qualcomm seems to agree.

Terragraph is a Facebook initiative that promotes the use of 60 GHz spectrum over a multi-hop multi-point wireless distribution network, using commercial WiGig gear. Facebook has been banging on about it for a couple of years now, but maybe Qualcomm’s involvement will help it gather some momentum, so long as lobby groups don’t break the company up first.

Qualcomm is throwing its family of 802.11ay (the follow-up to 802.11ad, for some reason, that adds 4×4 MIMO, or so the internet tells us) chipsets into the mix. The companies expect to begin trials of the integrated solution mid-2019.

“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,” said Yael Maguire, VP of connectivity at Facebook. “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.”

“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,” said Irvind Ghai, VP of product management at Qualcomm Atheros. “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.”

FWA is expected to be one of the first commercial use-cases of 5G and 60 GHz is eventually expected to be part of the spectrum mix. Terragraph seems to be currently happening in parallel to the main 5G effort but if it takes off, surely it will eventually be absorbed.

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