Persevering with the dialog from the 2021 Fb Connectivity Workshop

On May 18, Facebook Connectivity invited telecommunications experts from around the world to the Connectivity Research Workshop 2021, where our key partners shared their thoughts on some of our joint research activities. To continue this conversation and further benefit the community, we are sharing some recordings of the virtual workshop for those who were unable to attend.

Our mission at Facebook Connectivity is to bring more people online to faster internet. To ensure relevance and impact, we need input from thought leaders from industry and science to identify the most relevant challenges and promising solutions. We need to work together to ensure that our research and development efforts contribute to effective and sustainable packages of solutions.

At this year’s workshop, we worked with our partners at Internet Para Todos, Mayu Telecomunicaciones, and Brisanet to share our findings and findings, and to gather feedback from telecommunications experts.

“Facebook Connectivity isn’t just focused on developing technology,” said Alex Aimé, director of network investments at Facebook Connectivity. “We’re also focusing on developing new business models to get more people online.”

The workshop

Welcome and Introduction

Investing in Facebook Networks

This talk focused on partnership models and business model innovations that drive connectivity solutions in emerging markets.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for reliable internet access around the world. The internet has made it possible for people to stay connected, continue their education and work, and take care of their health. In many parts of the world, however, there is still a lack of affordable internet due to a lack of infrastructure. To meet this challenge, we are developing partnerships to build infrastructure and enable ecosystems to connect many parts of the world, including the recently announced submarine cables connecting Singapore, Indonesia and North America that will increase total transpacific capacity by 70 percent.

Partnerships are an important and crucial element of our work as we work closely together on business models, technology development and research investments. This is all the more important in emerging markets, where the challenges are diverse and complex.

Facebook’s mmWave technologies in challenging urban areas

In poorly connected urban and suburban areas, there is complex existing infrastructure that can limit access to high quality internet. In addition, dense cities with complex infrastructure make it very difficult to supply fiber to every street or house. By enabling fiber optic speeds using mmWave wireless technology, Facebook’s Terragraph technology enables service providers to deliver a high quality experience at a competitive price.

“It’s not just about speed and reliability – we also want to make sure the economy works,” says Grace Chen, product manager at Facebook Connectivity. “Customers are our infrastructure and that is very different from what people have done.”

A positive cycle to narrow the rural connectivity gap through innovation

In this talk we will show how Mayu Telecomunicaciones is working with Facebook, technology providers and researchers in a virtuoso innovation cycle to improve rural connectivity in Peru, with a focus on two challenging areas: microwave backhaul and smart solar power systems.

The digital divide is narrowing every year thanks to a number of public and private initiatives focused on breaking the barriers of rural connectivity. These include a lack of electricity, a lack of infrastructure and difficult terrain. Innovation is a key element in addressing these unique and complex challenges. To be successful, innovation should be a continuous cycle in which problems are identified, the causes understood, solutions developed and tested in real scenarios in the field. This cycle will be a positive cycle if it is continuous and brings together the key players – operators, researchers and technology providers.

“I imagine this innovation cycle as a wheel moving forward through a bumpy road with obstacles,” says Omar Tupayachi Calderon, CEO of Mayu Telecomunicaciones. “We have to work together to invent the solutions, develop the solutions, test the solutions and implement them.”

Internet para todos and rural network innovations

Internet Para Todos (IpT) is the very first Network as a Service designed to deliver reliable internet to rural communities in Peru in an economically sustainable manner. Facebook partnered with Telefonica and two investment banks (IDB and CAF) to bring IpT to life. To date, IpT has upgraded over 4,000 cellular sites from 2G to 4G, improving connectivity for millions of people.

An important element of rural connectivity is backhaul, the connections that connect remote locations to the core of the Internet. Wireless backhaul with microwave radio offers a cost-effective and fast deployment compared to other options. IpT network designers and engineers worked with Facebook to develop the results of a large research project – including collaborations with Ohio State University, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, University of Michigan, MIT, Pathloss, Plexus Controls, and George Mason University – harnessing the power of diffractive wireless NLOS links in the IPT network.

IpT has included diffractive NLOS microwave backhaul links in its network plan and deployed dozens of diffractive NLOS links. These connections provide both backbone and endpoint connectivity. Using NLOS wireless backhaul when redesigning the network results in a significant increase in network coverage and cost performance. In addition, this hybrid network design has enabled IpT network designers to efficiently perform terrestrial network expansion without making the changes to their infrastructure that would be required if only CLOS links were used.

“We [Internet Para Todos] and Facebook continue to work together to find new, innovative ways to improve rural connectivity, ”says Manuel García López, Head of Transport Network, Internet Para Todos de Perú. “All of this with the sole aim of connecting the unconnected and changing the life of the rural population in Peru – why not in the world?”

Brisanet and the evolution of the open network core

Brisanet was founded in 1997 as a Brazilian WLAN provider for the northeastern states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba. Due to interference problems with the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band, Brisanet shifted its focus to fiber optics in 2010. The telecommunications company inaugurated its fiber-to-home service in Pau dos Ferros (in Rio Grande do Norte) in 2011, delivering one of the first commercial fiber products in the country. The network now exceeds 500,000 households in 400 cities in the northeast and Brisanet is the sixth largest fixed line broadband provider in Brazil with around 660,000 subscribers.

Brisanet and Facebook are working together on several projects, including open network core solutions. A distributed network architecture is a key feature in rural deployments because the congestion of the backbone / backhaul connection is a challenge. By using Magma to implement network functionality at the edge, Brisanet users gain performance benefits by reducing latency, improving quality of service, and lowering network costs.

In this presentation, Brisanet CEO Roberto Nogueira talks about his experiences with Facebook and the use of Magma in the production network of Brisanet, the world’s largest commercial implementation.

“[What Brisanet did] is only possible with Magma, an open source solution for which we did not have to pay high costs, ”says Nogueira. “I would also like to add a comment on the importance of connectivity in the rural world […]. These people produce the food at people’s tables. “

closing remarks

What’s next

We believe that the close collaboration between universities and industry experts, from brainstorming and conception through to execution and implementation, enables the community to identify research opportunities that have the greatest impact and relevance, with clear routes to implementation. We look forward to further collaboration with the academic community, be it through internships, faculty awards, research awards, visiting researchers or postdocs, or research collaborations.

The Telecom Infra Project provides additional opportunities for collaboration with partners from the connectivity industry. To learn more about our recent releases and other announcements, visit our connectivity research page.

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