Google to Test Small Cell Network?

For some who worry that Google might someday decide to become an ISP in a bigger way, using either mobile or fiber to the home approaches, here is one more development to stoke concern.

Google filed an application at the Federal Communications Commission seeking permission to test an experimental radio system near its Mountain View, Calif. campus, using as many as 50 base stations and 200 end user devices.

The base stations will be both indoors and outdoors, using a “small cell” design. Indoor sites will have a range of 100 meters to 200 meters, while outdoor cells will have a range of 500 meters to 1000 meters.

Only Google knows what it is testing here. But the specific frequencies requested are 2524 MHz to 2546 MHZ and 2567 MHz to 2625 MHz.

These are bands allocated to the “Educational Broadband Service” (EBS) and the “Broadband Radio Service” (BRS), which are used by Clearwire for its mobile broadband service.

Google has tested a variety of networks and network elements in the past, so the latest effort is not unusual. But Google has suggested spectrum in the 3.55 GHz to 3.65 GHz could be used as part of a shared small cell service.

Google also in the past has asked for permission to test unlicensed devices in the 2.4 GHz band, 5 GHz band, and the 76-77 GHz band, as well as white spaces.

Aside from Google Fiber, Google also has invested in municipal Wi-Fi tests, invested in Clearwire, sponsored airport Wi-Fi and promised a minimum bid for 700-MHz mobile spectrum as well, in 2007.

The point is that Google remains vitally interested in new ways to expand Internet access, especially high-bandwidth, low cost access.

Google says the initial base station deployment will occur inside 1210 Charleston Road, Mountain View (and possibly 1200 and 1220 Charleston Road), and consist of five to 10 base stations (mounted on ceilings, or walls next to the ceiling, six to eight meters above ground), and up to 40 user devices.

Three base stations will employ directional antennas (dual-slant, two-way multiple input/multiple output, with 17 dBi max antenna gain), mounted on walls and directed toward the building interior; of these, base station one will have a beam width of 65 degrees, a 45 degree horizontal orientation, and a -4 degree vertical orientation; base station two will have a beam width of 90 degrees, a 315 degree horizontal orientation, and a -4 degree vertical orientation; and base station three will have a beam width of 65 degrees, a 210 degree horizontal orientation, and a -4 degree vertical orientation.

Subsequent deployments will occur on building rooftops at 1200, 1210, or 1220 Charleston Road, or possibly other buildings located on the Google campus.

Omni-directional antennas will be mounted either on external building walls at roof height, or on antenna masts above rooftops (extending no more than six meters above the rooftop).

Directional antennas may be used. No building on the campus is higher than 25 meters above ground. Google plans to test up to 50 base stations and 200 user devices during the requested experimental license term, and requests authority to deploy in these quantities. 


Each indoor base station will have a radius of approximately 100 meters to 200 meters. Each outdoor base station will have a radius of approximately 500 meters to 1000 meters.
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