Facebook Connectivity VP discusses unlicensed use of 60 GHz, open RAN momentum

A primary goal of Facebook the company is to get more people to use Facebook the social media platform–posting photos, engaging with friends and otherwise creating a monetizable data profile. One of the limiting factors of adding more active users to the platform is availability of reliable broadband, a particularly common issue in emerging markets. Given this paradigm, Facebook Connectivity invests in R&D and ecosystem development for new network infrastructure technologies–invest today in reshaping network economics and benefit tomorrow from new users newly connected to the internet.

Notable among Facebook Connectivity’s various initiatives are Terragraph, focused on using the unlicensed 60 GHz band to deliver fiber-like speeds in urban and suburban areas at a lower cost than running fiber-to-the premises, and participation via the Telecom Infra Project in opening up  radio access network infrastructure. Facebook Connectivity Vice President Dan Rabinovitsj discussed with RCR Wireless News how the company gauges success in its network infrastructure work and the confluence of factors that has brought open RAN to the forefront of telecom industry technological discourse.

The unlicensed 60 GHz band has been used for WiGig, a high-capacity, short-range flavor of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11ad evolving to 802.11ay) that could be used for creating a super Wi-Fi hot spot for things like untethered virtual reality. On the cellular side, the 3GPP is considering extending the 5G New Radio specification to the millimeter wave band but, for now, is focused on so-called NR-U for 5 GHz and 6 GHz. For Facebook Connectivity, 60 GHz represents an opportunity to deliver fiber-like wireless speeds at a much more favorable and attainable price point.




Attilio Zani, Executive Director, TIP

“Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, MTI, AceAxis, Facebook Connectivity and additional partners have unveiled the Evenstar RRU (Remote Radio Units). The Evenstar program will focus on building general-purpose RAN reference designs for 4G/5G networks in the Open RAN ecosystem that are aligned with 3GPP and O-RAN specifications. By decoupling the RRU hardware, DU and CU software, mobile network operators will have the ability to select best-of-breed components and the flexibility to deploy solutions from an increasing number of technology partners. The intention is to contribute the proposed solution into TIP’s OpenRAN Project Group to help accelerate adoption.”


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