Google’s Up To Something Secret of the Wireless Variety

January 24th, 2013 by · 6 Comments

That's the word this morning from the Wall Street Journal, which seems to have the best rumor trackers in tech these days. In this case though, they don't know what Google is actually up to - just that it's wireless and secret.

Apparently, they're experimenting with some new kind of network in one building of their Mountain View campus that involves 50 base stations and 200 devices, for which they wanted to redact info from FCC filings to keep things on the QT. But the most interesting detail is that they're doing it in *licensed* spectrum ranges from 2524-2625Mhz, which just so happens to be owned by Clearwire and recently bid for by Dish, which happens to have been rumored to be talking to Google recently.  And the building they're testing in happens to be the one that houses Google Fiber's staff.  That's enough to get more than a few conspiracy theories started.

Now, they're already doing WiFi with Google Fiber in Kansas City, and it's not as if they're going to be going solo and inventing a new standard or something to compete with LTE or WiMAX I'd think. So what could they possibly be doing? Whatever it is, you can be sure the anticipation will overshoot as always.  But still... it's Google and they've been trying to upset the networking apple cart in any number of ways for years.

My thought is that they're trying to re-imagine and re-invent the concept of the femtocell, which carriers have pretty much fumbled the ball on for a long time. Teaming that concept with the Kansas City buildout could have unique power in giving Android room to really run.  That being said, I don't know *how* they might be re-inventing them, but perhaps more will emerge over the coming months.  I'm open to suggestions!

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Categories: Wireless

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6 Comments So Far


  • mhammett says:

    Well, there could be a few things.

    I view the Google Fiber project as little more than political grandstanding. I think they’re cherry picking deployments that they can make big claims about to the government, “See what I did? Why can’t everyone else do this?”. They could be doing the same thing here, “Clear has all of this spectrum and isn’t doing jack with it. Give me some of the unused EBS spectrum and I’ll show you what can be done.”

    It could be femtocell research, but with the government lining up to hand out 3.5 GHz for “small cells”, I’d think they’d be looking to get closer to that band. Personally, I hope 3.5 GHz becomes available with WISP friendly rules. If they think they’re going to be teaming with Dish and grabbing Clear, maybe they’re looking for a new type of hotzone with LTE, backed by Google Fiber.

    Then again, Google likes to drop things all of the time, so it could be some random thing that gets dropped.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why would Google sell its stake in Clear in 2012 just to buy it back thru a venture with Dish?

    • mhammett says:

      The bet there is that Dish acquires at a minimum spectrum from Clear in order to shut up and go away. Then Dish has 2.5 GHz spectrum. Google and Dish have been buddies for a while.

      The alternative is what, Google goes back in with Clear\Sprint\Softbank? I suppose if the tables are all that much better with Softbank driving.

  • CarlK says:

    Hmm, so GOOG is suiting up to come back on the playing field through a different door, eh?

    Does this board’s ATHEIST, Enron, play GOLF in the morning?

    Tell him that I said “FOUR!” to six pps and possibly more if The Bush Family have their way. But not 5-10 cents more from $2.90 pps or $2.97 like The Rising Sun is attempted to dictate!

  • Wtf? says:

    Wtf? Carl k is like sudoku….

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