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New Wireless Technology May Speed Up Rollout Of Google Fiber


Earlier this year, Google Fiber acquired San Francisco-based Webpass, which uses point-to-point microwave technology to deliver super-fast internet service to Downtown San Diego multifamily projects and businesses. But Google Fiber has paused rollout of its ultra-fast fiber optic network to consider the new technologies on the horizon that could make the process quicker and more economical, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The main hurdle to delivering ultra-high-speed internet service to single-family homes is the cost of the so-called last mile, the distance between the fiber backbone to nearby homes. Millimeter wave is one of several technologies Google Fiber is considering to make the jump more economical, according to a report from broadband watchdog DSL Reports.

This wireless technology is promising because it can deliver high-gigabit data rates over short, line-of-sight distances, but is unreliable alone because signals tend to bounce off obstacles and degrade in inclement weather. Therefore, a transmitter is needed relatively close to homes to stabilize the signal. While this would drive up the deployment cost, it is still a much cheaper approach than digging up streets.

Improvements in antenna technology and beam-forming techniques that more precisely guide high-frequency airwaves to a target may be the answer to spanning the last mile. Specific high-frequency airwaves have already been dedicated to the spectrum that will be used to launch gigabit-class 5G cellular networks.

Local startup Skyriver recently completed field trials for millimeter wave point-to-multi-point technology for gigabyte broadband and plans to acquire spectrum rights in millimeter wave bands in several markets. Additionally, Qualcomm announced last month that it will deliver the first 5G mobile modem chip, called Snapdragon X50, next year, which is expected to reach download speeds of 5GBs per second. Qualcomm is targeting mobile phones, but analysts say this technology could be used to link fiber optic backbone in the streets to homes. [SDUT