The UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (UKWISPA) hosted senior executives from Facebook, Siklu, Radwin and Cambium for the first time as they gear up for the release of Terragraph multi-gigabit technology in the UK.
Terragraph, from Facebook’s Connectivity arm, promises low cost broadband delivery at speeds of over 1 gigabit, with the potential for over 10 gigabits using license-exempt Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in the UK from later this year. UKWISPA members Radwin, Cambium and Siklu are all set to ship products this year in time to help facilitate the UK Government’s Gigabit Britain pledge.
“Terragraph is set to revolutionise the cost and speed of roll-out for gigabit-plus broadband here in the UK,” stated David Burns, chairman of the UK’s body responsible for wireless internet services, UKWISPA. “At less than £200 per premises passed and under £900 per premises connected, with no disruptive duct digging, Terragraph equipment can bring multi-gigabit connections to the masses - quickly,” continued Burns.
Facebook has been developing this technology for around five years and has built pilot systems in several countries around the world using prototype equipment. Now, Facebook has attracted a range of global equipment manufacturers to form a whole ecosystem around the technology. Significantly, global silicon manufacturer, Qualcomm has developed a high volume, low cost chipset (802.11AY-based) to enable the extremely high data speeds needed to facilitate Terragraph affordably. This has enabled a range of equipment vendors, including UKWISPA Technology Members Cambium Networks, Radwin and Siklu, to release products in 2020, and has encouraged others, such as MikroTik and IgniteNet, to commit to joining the community.
“Facebook recognised that new applications require high speed connectivity and, with data consumption growing at an ever-increasing rate, the demand for broadband cannot be matched by the current ability to build new high-speed networks. With Terragraph, Facebook is creating an ecosystem to address this gap and serve under-connected communities. We helped assemble a technology stack with a range of partners, assisted with spectrum advocacy and the specification of 802.11AY standards, and built an industry ecosystem to realise the potential for this technology.” stated Neeraj Bhatia, Product Manager from Facebook Connectivity.
“Terragraph networks are built on very high-speed resilient mesh equipment, where a small low power device is mounted on a building or street furniture and communicates with up to 16 other units on other buildings to form a mesh. This method perfectly complements fibre build out, where the Terragraph mesh fills gaps that would be expensive to install otherwise. As a mesh, data can pass in all directions at full speed, meaning upload and download speeds are symmetric and the mesh can tolerate breaks without stopping. Moreover, it is so fast that it can seamlessly blend with fibre to create a fully hybrid network that suits the local conditions,” added Burns. “UKWISPA members are itching to install Terragraph services to help more customers across the country and to upgrade their existing customers to gigabit speeds and complement their fibre plans,” concludes Burns.