Qualcomm joins Facebook’s Terragraph Project to bring fast Wi-Fi to U.S. cities

Facebook and Qualcomm are teaming up to bring fast Wi-Fi to cities across the United States. For at least two years, the social media giant has been attempting to create a “multi-node wireless system focused on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to dense urban areas.” It’s called the Terragraph Project, and it was first debuted at the social network’s 2016 annual developer conference.

The goal is to send data through routers more efficiently, resulting in faster Wi-Fi. And now, Qualcomm chipsets will be integrated with this technology, which should allow manufacturers to upgrade routers in order to send data at a frequency of 60GHz.

According to a Qualcomm spokesperson, the Terragraph Project could be a boon to both rural and urban neighborhoods that suffer from Wi-Fi dead zones. The technology is contingent upon the 802.11ay WLAN standard, which promises transmission rates of up to 40Gbps over 300 to 500 meter ranges. But with a little bit of finagling from Qualcomm and Facebook, this standard has been further improved with enormous antenna arrays, channel bonding, time-synchronized nodes, and TDMA protocols, Engadget reports. This should help signals bypass obstacles (like huge skyscrapers), as well as reach more users and reduce costs.

Trials for the new network are slated to begin in the middle of 2019, though it’s not entirely clear where the test cities will be. Previously, Facebook suggested that Terragraph would be tested in San Jose. Given that Terragraph is meant to help areas where laying fiber or other internet sources is particularly expensive, there are a number of cities and towns that could certainly benefit from this technology.

This isn’t Facebook’s first foray into internet. The company already offers Free Basics, a free internet service that has come under fire previously for offering a very abbreviated and carefully curated version of the web (which, of course, includes Facebook). Unfortunately, fake news has found its way onto the site, and Facebook recently removed the service from Myanmar and other areas where it has presented a misinformation problem to users.

Hopefully, Terragraph will provide a better alternative to existing solutions, and if all goes well, we could soon be seeing this fast new network in the next year.


Netgear’s new Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router brings Wi-Fi 6 speeds to the masses

Available in May for $600, the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router allows for maximum Wi-Fi performance on smart home devices and offers everything needed for gaming, streaming, and other high-bandwidth applications. 

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Pro Gaming router keeps you connected at a nice price

Netgear's latest router expands its Nighthawk range with a $200 entry. It's still fast and helps reduce lag in gaming, but it does it at the lowest price of a Nighthawk Pro Gaming router yet.
Social Media

Twitter wants you to help shape the future design of its app

Twitter is launching an app for testing new design features and it wants you to get involved. Those accepted into the program will have the chance to try out different conversation designs aimed at improving the user experience.
Emerging Tech

Professional drone racing is flying onto Twitter this summer

Professional drone racing is coming to Twitter for the first time this summer. Organizers hope the streaming deal with the social media platform will help the growing sport to further broaden its audience.
Social Media

Twitter takes a cue from Instagram and Snapchat with new quick-swipe camera

Twitter is giving the "what's happening" treatment to photos and video by allowing users to access the in-app camera fast enough to catch and share the moment. The new Twitter camera is now accessible with a swipe.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.