A new wireless fibre broadband network is currently being rolled out by YTL Communication in Georgetown, Penang (Malaysia). First introduced by Facebook in 2016, the Terragraph wireless broadband network is said to offer gigabit speeds.
The new Terragraph network in Penang is currently in trial mode, beginning March until the end of August 2019. During this trial period, it will provide users with free Public WiFi and Fixed Wireless Access. After this trial period, YTL said it would plan for a commercial period, however no further details are available.
Terragraph uses a wireless technology called 802.11ay and runs on the 60Ghz frequency. To use it, consumers would need some sort of router or gateway that could receive the 802.11ay signal and their homes have to be located close to the Terragraph transmitters/antenna (small cells).
The first Terragraph network was deployed by Deutsche Telekom in Mikebuda, Hungary with trials began in May 2018. The trial was limited to 50 customers in 106 homes. While the Terragraph nodes were able to achieve speeds close to 1Gbps, the customer’s wired CPE (router/modem) were limited to 650Mbps and Wifi speeds were in the range of 300Mbps (due to Wifi’s own limitation).
Facebook said the V-Band (60 GHz) have at least 7 GHz of spectrum, and potentially even 14GHz. This makes the V-band the largest commercial radio band ever use.
According to Facebook, Terragraph has the following features:
- Operates in the unlicensed V-band: 60 GHz
- Uses standardized 802.11ad and 802.11ay, enhanced with TDD/TMDA for MAC efficiency at scale
- Current proof-of-concept system has a peak data rate of 4.6Gbps (one direction) and and average peak user throughputof over 1 Gbps
- Single link maximum range is approximately 250 meters
- The network can be deployed in days rather than months
- Highly cost effective vs buried fiber
- Small, lightweight and low power – suitable for street leveldeployments
- Supports highly scalable layer-3 mesh, powered by Open/Rrouting software
- Uses IPv6
In support of the Terragraph trial in Penang, MCMC issued the following media statement.
The announcement follows the launch of YTL Communications and Facebook’s Terragraph market pilot in Georgetown to deliver a reliable, affordable and high speed broadband connectivity to the heritage city. The six-month long market pilot will include the provision of public Wi-Fi and Fixed Wireless Access that can potentially solve the challenges faced in urban areas with rising bandwidth per square kilometer; legacy copper infrastructure; costly fiber optic cable deployment; and limited spectrum at lower frequencies.
Minister of Communications and Multimedia, YB Gobind Singh Deo was present to witness the showcase, along with the Chairman of MCMC, Al-Ishsal Ishak and members of the Penang State Government.
“If the technology is capable of delivering gigabit speeds to high-density areas at a fraction of the cost of fiber, we can consider it as part of the NFCP,” said Al-Ishsal.
On 8 January 2019, the inaugural pilot project for NFCP was successfully launched in Jasin, Melaka in collaboration with the Melaka State Government, Jasin Municipal Council, Setia Haruman Technology (a subsidiary of TNB Berhad) and MCMC.
“The NFCP is the Government’s initiative to provide the rakyat with robust, pervasive, high quality and affordable digital connectivity. It is a five-year plan that shall serve as one of the country’s economic levers as we move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Al-Ishsal.
Key targets set under the NFCP include having average speed of 30Mbps in 98% of populated areas and Gigabits availability in all state capitals by 2023, which will be achieved through initiatives undertaken by MCMC and industry.
“More pilot projects are in the pipeline especially in Sabah and Sarawak. The government is committed to providing internet access to everyone – not just a privilege or a luxury. Access to the internet has become a necessity to the people and an essential building block for the future growth of the country,” Al-Ishsal concluded.[PDF]