The next big thing happening in wireless communications is 5G, but that doesn’t mean Wi-Fi isn’t also getting better.
Qualcomm, which is at the forefront of 5G development, just announced that it’s working with Facebook on a project to bring high-speed Wi-Fi technology to urban areas.
Before you get too excited about it, you should know that Qualcomm and Facebook will start trials only in mid-2019, so there’s plenty of time to go until we actually see it tested in commercial areas. Qualcomm did not say what markets will be included in the trial phase.
But Qualcomm explained in a press release that it’s working with Facebook’s Terragraph technology to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi “through the development of a multi-node wireless system based on 60GHz technology.”
These technologies would allow operators to “improve the speed, efficiency and quality of internet connectivity around the world at only a fraction of the cost of fiber deployments.”
So what does that mean in terms of actual speed for consumers? “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,” Qualcomm Atheros vice president Irvind Ghai said. In other words, you can expect speeds that will be significantly faster than conventional Wi-Fi technology, well into gigabit territory.
Facebook introduced its Terragraph Project back at F8 2016. It’s essentially a high-speed Wi-Fi network mesh that can be deployed outdoors in urban areas. Terragraph works over millimeter wave frequency such as the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum, which is what makes possible high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity.