The Internet has become a huge thing in our lives. Often we find ourselves bored and lifeless without the internet. No matter how hectic our lives are and how happening our days are, it has become a mandatory to check our social media profiles at least once in a day and use WhatsApp to communicate with people who are distant from us. While the exchange of communication is becoming mandatory, so is the consistency of the network. Years ago, we were all struck with 2G that we were so happy with its coverage. However, days have changed, and now we’re in the world of 4G LTE. The irony is that even when we are advancing, there might come situations where we have to use 2G and will there be anything more painful than that? Recognizing the issue, Facebook has developed a cost-effective open source that changes 2G into LTE, to improve the connectivity, especially in the remote regions.
What is this Open Cellular?
- An open source that is designed as a support range for the exchange of communications and everything right from network framework to the access point, from the 2G connection to 4G.
- An Open Cellular is composed of two systems i.e.,; a general purpose computing system with base-band, housekeeping technology and immense power and a radio frequency system with front-end analog.
- Facebook is planning on open-source the equipment plan, hardware design alongside essential firmware and control programming, to empower telecom administrators, business visionaries, OEMs, and scientists to manufacture locally, actualize, convey, and work remote foundation given this stage.
- They are expecting to work with Telecom Infra Project (TIP) individuals to construct a dynamic open source group around cell access innovation advancement and to choose trial areas for further approval of specialized, practical, and operational parts of the stage.
Reason behind the idea:
According to the statistical records of 2015, 4 billion people across the world doesn’t have access to the internet and out of which 10% of them are living in areas where there is no cellular connectivity, even. Despite the technological innovations and advancements, we are not able to provide the basic connectivity to few people, forget the advanced features. Therefore, to help to solve this issue of unavailability, Facebook has decided to work on few multiple ways to improve the network and make every region interconnected on the globe. With the low cost of deployment, Open Cellular is one such method that they’re experimenting on.
Why is it needed?
One major reason behind the stalling of the networks is because our ecosystem is pretty much refrained. Therefore, to penetrate through it using the traditional infrastructure will cost a fortune and is hard at the same level. As the hyper-local challenges are persisting, it has become unaffordable to the common man to gain the mandatory network access and much to our amusement, this is happening in few rural commodities too. Therefore, Open Source is how Facebook is going to make few modulations in the architecture of the infrastructure and reduce the costs involved in it. With this source, Facebook wants to produce a technology which is not only cost effective but has the power to expand the capacity to provide a network to areas in which the network is scarce.
The basic idea behind the design is that they have made an access platform that supports all kind of wireless standards from 2G to 4G along with WiFi points. Therefore, customization can be done according to the needs of the person and the coverage depending on if he’s living in a rural area or an urban area.
Basic principles are:
- Modular Design
- Scalable solution
- Low OPEX and CAPEX
- Ease of Installation
- Minimal support costs
- Maximizing the capacity
- Minimizing civil costs.
- Lightweight Supply Chain
- Local Manufacturing
Hardware and Software Elements:
As mentioned above, the two hardware subsystems are GBC (General-band based Computing system) and Radio Frequency system. These are determined on factors like availability, low cost, and power-efficiency. On the other hand, the software elements are fixed on the factors like low maintenance. Therefore, a real-time operating system which is functional and user-friendly is inscribed where it can reconfigure on its own and issue alerts when additional help is needed.
Facebook, as of now is testing the source in their HQ labs to make the Open Cellular available and workable. The first design that is revealed on 6th July is just a reference design and needed to be worked on a lot more.
That being said, if everything goes right, we will soon have the cellular networks reach every corner of the world (including the remotely rural areas), and the whole world will be interconnected in one way or the other. The Internet of Things might as well become a reality through this. I mean why not? The technological world is, after all, running too fast.