Facebook debuts Terragraph and Project ARIES terrestrial connectivity systems

Terragraph network

With an aim to provide better internet connections in both rural and urban areas, Facebook has introduced two new terrestrial connectivity systems focused on improving the speed, efficiency, and quality of internet connectivity around the world — Terragraph and Project ARIES (Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum).

Terragraph is a 60 GHz, multi-node wireless system that focuses on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas. It uses commercial off-the-shelf components and leveraging the cloud for intensive data processing. Terragraph’s wireless system consists of radios that are based on the WiGig standard and are designed for consumer electronics which helped Facebook in creating nodes that are inexpensive relative to traditional telecom infrastructure.

These nodes are placed across a city at 200-250 meter intervals and the vast bandwidth and unique signal-absorbing nature of the band limits interference and simplifies network planning, while the unlicensed nature of the spectrum helps to further minimize costs. Terragraph also leverages technology created to manage Facebook’s massive data center infrastructure. Facebook said that Terragraph incorporates attributes and industrial design required for fast, attractive, and affordable deployment across cityscapes. Its reduced interference and ability to operate in non-line-of-sight conditions increases customer reach.

Terragraph network-1

Project ARIES includes a base station with 96 antennas, it can support 24 streams simultaneously over the same radio spectrum. Facebook said that it is currently able to demonstrate 71 bps/Hz of spectral efficiency, and when complete ARIES will demonstrate an unprecedented 100+ bps/Hz of spectral efficiency.

The social network is testing Terragraph at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park and preparing a broader trial with the city of San Jose in California. While in case of ARIES, Facebook is working testbed that conclusively demonstrates the 10x spectral and energy efficiency gains of 4G cellular with massive MIMO technology in point to multi-point deployments.


Author: Sneha Bokil

Sneha Bokil is a tech enthusiast and is currently using OnePlus 3T but she still treasures her Nokia N70 (M). You can follow her on Twitter @snehabokil and on Google+