Facebook teams with Deutsche Telekom for TIP mmWave project

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The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has launched the Millimeter Wave Networks Project Group, co-chaired by Deutsche Telekom and Facebook, to address the growing demand for mmWave bandwidth in dense, highly-populated cities.

The group’s ultimate goal is to create a vibrant ecosystem of telecom operators and technology vendors collaborating to develop and deploy mmWave networks.

The mmWave group will focus on advancing networking solutions that use the 60-GHz frequency band – a large slice of unlicensed spectrum capable of supporting the bandwidth required by virtual reality, augmented reality, 4K video streaming, smart city sensors and other emerging bandwidth-intensive applications.

The mmWave group will use data and lessons learned from Facebook’s Terragraph solution, a proof-of-concept system that overcame the signal range and absorption limitations that previously confined the 60-GHz band to indoor use.

The mmWave Group’s hardware engineering efforts will focus on promoting the design of nodes that combine radio transmitters and receivers. These nodes will be designed for installation on utility poles, street lamps, sides of buildings and other public locations throughout a city to provide coverage. They will work together in a mesh configuration, with traffic hopping from node to node to reach the reception point, which could be a Wi-Fi access point, small cell or a building.

According to TIP, this network architecture requires only a handful of nodes to be connected to fiber in order to provide city-wide coverage, which will help minimize capital expenditures. In addition, the hardware will use a commercial off-the-shelf WiGig chipset components to contain costs.

Four tracks

The group will complement the mmWave system with a suite of software tools and best practices to help service providers and municipalities streamline and maximize mmWave deployments. This effort is currently focused on four tracks:

  • Cost economics modeling:the group will create a template that operators can populate with their specific deployment characteristics and goals to determine if the chief benefit of the deployment will be revenue generation or cost savings.
  • Validation:the group will develop a suite of test and simulation tools to help carriers validate the performance and capabilities of 60-GHz networking for metro applications.
  • Network planning:this collection of tools will be optimized for the specific requirements of 60-GHz networking so service providers can accurately model their deployments for optimal coverage while minimizing the amount of equipment to be installed.
  • Best practices: this set of guidelines and recommendations will help municipalities foster 60-GHz deployments. These will include details on obtaining spectrum covering permits and rules for attaching nodes to utility poles, street lights, traffic signal poles and other street furniture.

Each of the four tracks will initially support 60-GHz uses cases such as fixed wireless access, mobile backhaul and smart city applications.

The mmWave Group held its first official meeting at Mobile World Congress Americas last week. Organizations interested in joining TIP and the mmWave Project Group can learn more here.

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