RSS

The Bulletin

Google's secretive wireless network could impact urban connectivity, Wi-Fi

Posting in Technology

Google's secretive wireless networking project could have severe repercussions on the consumer market it seems.

Filing an application to build an "experimental" wireless network on the tech giant's Mountain View headquarters, Google is petitioning the FCC to allow 50 base stations to be built on the campus, in order to support 200 user devices for an "experimental radio service."

The application and proposal state that the area covered will be close to the firm's Android building, but small, indoor base stations will only reach up to 200 meters, and outdoor systems will go no further than a kilometer. In total, the network will have a two-mile radius.

The experimental network remains under wraps for now, but who knows what Google is planning for the future. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the FCC request may be in relation to the tech giant's partnership with Dish Networks.

The filing, uncovered by Wireless engineer Steve Crowley, would provide coverage for 2524 to 2625 megahertz frequencies -- which wouldn't be compatible with most of the consumer mobile devices currently available, such as Apple's iPhone or smartphones running Google's Android operating system. It would, however, work well in densely populated areas.

How does this relate to Dish? Currently, these frequencies are licensed spectrum and are owned by Clearwire, which Dish Networks has placed an acquisition bid for. Speculation could suggest that if Dish's bid for Clearwire is successful, the wireless provider and Google may be testing a more reliable source of connectivity than Wi-Fi for urban areas.

In addition, Google has in itself told us all we actually need to know by trying to keep part of the document secret:

"The information for which confidential treatment is sought concerns the highly competitive consumer electronics market."

Image credit: Google

Related:

— By on January 24, 2013, 6:19 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure