By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
We nearly missed this but it is hopefully not too late to share a short intelligence report: An FCC filing dated August 15 – first spotted by Business Insider – indicates that Google will be testing some version of a 6 GHz radio system across 26 US states. Our best guess is that this is probably 6 GHz Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6E).
Is Google getting back into public hotspots or some other form of service provider Wi-Fi – perhaps as an extension of their fibre networks? We don’t know for sure but a recent filing with the FCC seems to suggest just that. Google has requested permission from the FCC to conduct 6 GHz radio testing in 26 cities across the US including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Phoenix, and more.
“Google proposes to conduct experimental propagation testing in the 6 GHz band to produce technical information relevant to the utility of these frequencies for providing reliable broadband connections,” the filing says. Tests will be conducted in the 5650 MHz – 7125 MHz band although outdoor operation in UNII-6 and UNII-8 will be avoided, Google says.
Google says it will “apply the technical principles and interference criteria laid out in the new 6 GHz rules” – meaning they will honour the rule set that as of April 23 applies to Wi-Fi 6E. Conversely it suggests that Google will be testing (outdoors with standard power) Wi-Fi 6E in the UNII-5 and UNII-7 band, which according to the new rules requires AFC (read more about AFC here).
This leads us to guess that Google will be testing 6 GHz Wi-Fi both indoors and out, probably with a view to incorporating AFC functionality – although there’s no mention of this in the filing. Google hasn’t embarked on a major public or service provider Wi-Fi project since the company decided to drop their emerging markets and fairly expansive Google Station Wi-Fi project earlier this year.