Google Building Confidential, Experimental Wireless Network
January 25, 2013

What Is Google Up To Now? FCC Application Hints At Super-Dense LTE Network

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Last week, Google submitted an application to the FCC for a license to begin testing a new “experimental radio service” for the next 24 months.

Now that this application has been found, many have begun asking what Google is testing and why. One such ponderer, consulting engineer Steven J. Crowley, suggests that Google´s experiment could be what´s called a “HetNet,” or heterogeneous network. These networks, thought to be the future of wireless connectivity, use the power of both Wi-Fi networks and cellular networks, thereby creating a ”flexible and high-bandwidth” network.

According to Mr. Crowley, Google´s quiet test could be a “super-dense LTE network using Clearwire´s spectrum.”

Though Google has made portions of their application confidential, Crowley has dissected this filing and has made his own assumptions and predictions as to what Google may be up to in Mountain View.

A portion of the filing claims that Google wants to build their own radio network around their headquarters in Mountain View, California which consists of 50 base stations and 200 “user devices.”

“Base stations will be indoors and outdoors, with the range of each 100-200 meters, and 500-1000 meters, respectively,” writes Crowley in his blog.

“Both directional and non-directional antennas will be used. The experiment is to take place within a two-mile radius, so this is a quite dense network, which could have very high capacity for carrying data.”

Crowley goes on to mention that Google´s experimental network uses the same frequencies as Clearwire´s broadband service in the Mountain View area.

"A cursory check of the FCC's database (the accuracy of which varies) indicates that Clearwire, in the Mountain View area, might be leasing at least some of this spectrum from Stanford University,” writes Crowley.

Though this network will be operational at the ℠Plex, normal, everyday consumer devices won´t be able to take advantage of it just yet.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the frequencies of this new network run from 2524 to 2625 megahertz. While not yet useful to iPads, iPhones and most Android phones, these frequencies could one day be useful in heavily populated areas such as Brazil, China and Japan, explained wireless-industry analyst Walter Piecyk, speaking to the Journal.

The Journal also points out that the specific building mentioned in Google´s FCC filing just so happens to be the same building where their Fiber Team resides. This team is responsible for rolling out their gigabit Internet connections, currently available only in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri. Google also offers free Wi-Fi to citizens of New York´s Chelsea neighborhood as well as residents of their hometown of Mountain View.

According to Piecyk, Google could be working on a wireless offering to their Google Fiber gigabit service. It could also be handy for Google to use some of their Motorola hardware to roll out these services.

As of now it´s unclear exactly what Google plans to do with this new network, only that they´re experimenting with something.