Answers to your FAQ on Terragraph: Facebook’s New Wireless Solution

● Jul 21, 2021

Everything you need to know about how Facebook’s new wireless network solution, Terragraph, is being implemented globally to bring internet connectivity to poorly connected areas.

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Facebook’s new Terragraph technology is bringing a high-bandwidth, affordable wireless solution to poorly connected cities and suburban centers across the world. The new release solves problems of limited high-speed broadband connectivity access in areas where existing infrastructure just isn’t cutting it.

Terragraph‘s technology is quicker to deploy than other wireless services, faster to bring to markets, and operates on a 60 Hz unlicensed band that delivers fiber-like speeds. More and more network vendors such as Radwin, Siklu, and Cambium, are quickly partnering with Terragraph to bring innovative wireless service to their own clients at a fraction of the cost. 

What is Terragraph?

Terragraph uses street-level mmWave radios mounted on existing street furniture to create a wireless distribution solution best suited for last-mile fixed access¹. The technology is built with a suite of software; using the IEEE 802.11ay standard, featuring time-division multiple access (TDMA) Terragraph transmits capability from multiple base stations. 

The planning and ideation of this technology aren’t recent. While the first ideation of Terragraph began in 2015, Anuj Madan didn’t present the first working prototype until 2017. In 2018, Mikebuda, Hungary deployed the first Terragraph network, improving their local connectivity speeds from 5mbps to 650mbps.  

Today, the outdoor small cell bases for these networks are available for integration. Providers implement wireless broadband connectivity into both residential and corporate communities globally.

Why is Terragraph revolutionary?

Facebook’s new technology is coming at a time when more and more wireless users are requiring reliable and secure connections. More than 95 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas; this number is expected to rise to approximately 4 billion by 2050. 

Terragraph is able to bring significant improvements in wireless data transmission speeds because of its composition: fiber-like wavelengths of light. These ultra-wide wavelengths can transmit much larger volumes of data at much faster speeds.

What is the difference between Terragraph and other wireless services?

There are a wide variety of wireless technologies available, including satellite, licensed, unlicensed, etc. However, serving urban dense communities comes with unique challenges and a need for superior flexibility. 

Cities’ wireless access systems are designed to serve the scale and “density” of one or two floors. For example, a mobile wireless access system (MWAS) designed for a two-floor building has a small footprint and few antenna elements; this allows for easy installation. However, to serve two floors of office buildings requires more complex elements and antennas. These elements take up space on the roof or in an interior location; this impacts the system’s ability to maximize coverage and costs.

Terragraph’s modular and scalable architecture means you can combine devices to create a mesh network in different locations. The new connectivity network enhances mobile connectivity for people in urban areas with limited internet options.

Who is developing the technology?

Though Facebook is the big player, many companies will deploy its technology. Radwin, Cambium Networks, Siklu, and others have already released their integrations with Terragraph. 

  • Radwin has released two different iterations of their TerraWIN™Nodes, a “Distribution Node” and a “Client Node.” Both products are 60GHz, self-organizing, multi-node wireless mesh solutions that deliver 5G speeds at a fraction of the cost, thanks to Terragraph technology.
  • Cambium Networks recently launched their 60 GHz cnWave with three different nodes (V1000, V3000, and V5000) for any residential or commercial size. These new configurations are capable of operating in Point-to-Point (PTP), in Point-to-Multipoint (PMP), or in mesh modes. 
  • Siklu’s MultiHaul™ Terragraph Series combines their renowned expertise in L2 Software Defined Networking (SDN) mesh markets with Facebook’s Terragraph technology. In doing so, they have created a product line that delivers exceptional coverage, capacity, and speed.

At Continental Computers, we’re proud to be one of the first integrators to implement a Terragraph certified solution, Siklu’s MultiHaul™ Terragraph Series, in one of our projects. 

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