Intended to lower the bar to entry in places where it has been historically difficult to access cellular networks, the wireless system offers a complete set of tools to build a readymade network including the necessary physical equipment and software.
The platform is designed to improve connectivity since it can be deployed to support a range of communication options, from a network in a box to an access point supporting everything from 2G to LTE and facilitating Wi-Fi and voice calls, all of which is capable of operation in remote and harsh conditions.
By lowering the cost of such materials, prohibitively expensive in many areas, Facebook hopes to reach the disenfranchised and further grow internet access.
The system is currently undergoing testing at Facebook’s head office prior to roll out later this summer.
Facebook plans to open-source the hardware design, along with necessary firmware and control software, to enable telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs, and researchers to locally build, implement, deploy, and operate wireless infrastructure based on this platform.
With OpenCellular, Facebook hopes to develop affordable new technology that can expand capacity and make it more cost-effective for operators to deploy networks in places where coverage is scarce. By open-sourcing the hardware and software designs for this technology, we expect costs to decrease for operators and to make it accessible to new participants.