Not content to let Google enjoy all the fun, with their largely altruistic projects aimed at improving Internet speed and access all over the world, Facebook also has some efforts in the pipeline hoping to boost bandwidth without the added costs of putting fiber in the ground. Of course, both technology giants rely on Internet advertising to drive revenue, so they benefit from more people enjoying a faster online experience.
Will Facebook’s new projects allow you to stream video with minimal stuttering? Read further to learn more about their Terragraph and ARIES initiatives — one slated to make urban Internet networks faster, and the other purposed to improve wireless access in underserved areas.
Speeding up the Internet in Densely Populated Areas
Terragraph is a Facebook project hoping to leverage high frequency radio wave technology to improve network throughput in areas with dense populations. It uses an array of radio antennas attached to streetlights and other similar pieces of infrastructure to cover an area with radio waves able to carry copious amounts of data.
These radio signals boast frequencies of around 60 GHz, which hampers their range, especially through the walls typical of any urban area. That’s the main reason behind Facebook’s “antenna blanket” strategy. The company expects Terragraph antennas will need to be located at intervals of around 200 feet.
Facebook currently uses Terragraph technology at its California headquarters. A trial is planned for San Jose, but no date for that test was available at the time of this writing.
ARIES to Spread Wireless Internet Access across Rural Areas
Project ARIES (which stands for Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum) plans on leveraging some of the same technologies being slated for use in 5G wireless networks. The prime technical goals of ARIES include allowing more data to be transmitted across a wireless network at a much wider range. In addition to improving rural Internet access, Facebook hopes the technology also enhances connection quality for cars, smartphones and other devices.
This project is earlier in its lifecycle compared to Terragraph, so there is no additional news about a trial project. With both initiatives, Facebook expects to partner with ISPs and network carriers as opposed to building their own infrastructure. In the case of ARIES, they may want to increase their efforts, as some pundits predict 5G wireless technology to be commonplace by the end of the decade.
Terragraph offers the most promise to improve network performance in urban areas within the next two years, depending on the results their San Jose trial. Get your speed tests ready!