F8 2016: Facebook Shows Off Connectivity Efforts Terragraph, Project ARIES

Facebook introduced two new steps in its journey to connect the world at its F8 global developers’ conference in San Francisco this week.

Facebook introduced two new steps in its journey to connect the world at its F8 global developers’ conference in San Francisco this week.

The social network took the wraps off Terragraph, a multi-node wireless system for bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas, and Project ARIES (Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum, pictured to the right), a test platform for efficient usage of spectrum and energy.

Product manager Neeraj Choubey and engineer Ali Yazdan Panah provided detailed descriptions of Terragraph and Project ARIES in a blog post, and highlights follow:

Facebook’s Connectivity Lab is working on a range of new technology solutions to help connect the unconnected and improve the experience of the underserved. Today we announced two new terrestrial 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 gigahertz, multi-node wireless system focused on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas. Utilizing commercial off-the-shelf components and leveraging the cloud for intensive data processing, the Terragraph system is optimized for high-volume, low-cost production.

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. For customers or business in multidwelling units or high-rises, the Terragraph system can be externally attached to a building and connected to an in-building Ethernet data network. Combined with Wi-Fi access points, Terragraph is one of the lowest-cost solutions to achieve 100 percent street-level coverage of gigabit Wi-Fi.

TerragraphNetworkUrbanDeployment TerragraphNodes

Our other focus is on a transmission technology that is: spectrally efficient (total number of bits transmitted per unit of radio spectrum bps/Hz), allowing for higher throughput in even the smallest bandwidths; and energy efficient (total number of bits transmitted per unit Joule energy spent b/J), allowing for extended coverage range. Project ARIES is our proof-of-concept effort to build a test platform for incredibly efficient usage of spectrum and energy: A base station with 96 antennas, it can support 24 streams simultaneously over the same radio spectrum. We currently are able to demonstrate 71 bps/Hz of spectral efficiency, and when complete, ARIES will demonstrate an unprecedented 100+ bps/Hz of spectral efficiency.