Shortly after winning a permission from the FCC to conduct millimeter wave testing across the United States through terrestrial and airborne means, Google is now planning on developing a series of networks which can bring together various wireless technologies to give the consumer a unified experience. The Mountain View-based software giant is reportedly set to hire a 'wireless systems engineer' for this purpose. From what's already known, the role of the engineer will be to help Google research on advancements of the existing 4G LTE wireless technology as well as future 5G technologies which may be commercialized on or before 2020.
Google's existing Project Fi simply acts as a mobile virtual network operator by combining Sprint's and T-Mobile's cellular networks with its own VPN service and compatible Wi-Fi networks to offer consumers smooth access to calls, text and high speed data via a Project Fi SIM card. Working on a similar concept, Google aims to build heterogeneous networks in the future which can take advantage of both public as well as unlicensed spectrum to let users stay connected wherever they go. This approach ensures that networks can make use of every bit of available spectrum to offer the best possible experience to consumers and was recently vindicated after the FCC voted to make 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum between 64 GHz and 71 GHz available for future use. If the systems engineer can show Google a way to let users access both 4G LTE and 5G services at the same time, it will be a boon for consumers as the reach of 5G networks could be quite limited to begin with.
As per reports, Google is conducting tests of a proposed wireless network in Kansas City which it claims will surpass the 1 giga byte speed barrier in terms of data speeds. While it is unclear if the technology will be implemented anytime soon, it will surely act as a precursor to the eventual speeds that future 5G networks will promise. It will thus be interesting to see if the heterogeneous network that Google is working on will be able to combine both licensed and unlicensed spectrum to deliver the kind of speeds that we usually expect from landline broadband networks. If it does, then the competition between fixed broadband and cellular data networks will be quite interesting to watch in the coming years.