Facebook wishes to connect everybody together through the Internet on a global scale. For it to achieve this feat, the company unveiled during the F8 developers conference on April 13 its new terrestrial connectivity systems, dubbed Terragraph and Project ARIES, to provide speedier and cheaper Internet access across the globe.
Terragraph makes use of a 60 GHz and multi-node wireless system aimed in bringing speedy Internet connectivity particularly to areas in which population is dense. The company says the system leverages so-called "commercial off-the-shelf" parts plus the cloud for rigorous data processing for low-cost, high-volume production.
Project ARIES (which stands for Antenna Radio Integration for Efficiency in Spectrum), is Facebook's initiative to install antennas to provide connectivity to more than 90 percent of the world's population who are living within 40 kilometers (24 miles) of a city. The company says the project targets to put base stations that have 96 antennas to support 24 streams at 71 bits per second in urban areas to extend connectivity out to rural places.
"Facebook's Connectivity Lab is working on a range of new technology solutions to help connect the unconnected and improve the experience of the undeserved," says Facebook in a blog post. "Today, we announced two new terrestrial systems focused on improving the speed, efficiency and quality of Internet connectivity around the world - Terragraph and Project ARIES."
Facebook says that it does not intend to build the networks. Rather, it is going rely on carriers and Internet service providers to make these projects successful.
The company is determined to push these projects to boost connectivity speed by 10 times and trim down the cost by 10 times.
"We don't want to make things just a little bit better," said Facebook's vice president of engineering Jay Parikh during the conference. "We're working on things that will make things 10x faster, 10x cheaper, or both."
This recent move from Facebook is seen as part of what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's calls the company's humanitarian project, to "continue connecting the world."
Terragraph, ARIES and Aquila are the company's grand projects to do just that in the next few years.
Facebook is presently testing out Terragraph at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park. It says it is gearing up to pilot its program in San Jose, California later this year.