Google Powers its Way to an Ultra High-Speed Broadband Network with HDTV [VIDEO]

November 7, 2011, By George Lang

Few organizations can muster the financial resources to attempt what the Google Fiber project has in mind. Before this year, only Verizon FiOS had made any significant progress toward building a viable telecommunications infrastructure with the potential to exceed well over 100 mega bits per second (Mbps) to the home.The  Google system will be ten times that—fully one Gigabit per second (Gbps) by next year!

The term “potential” is an important concept to keep in mind when discussing fiber optic deployments. As of 2011, no network (other than local area networks or LANs within premises) even comes close to the bandwidth capability that Google is proposing for entire neighborhoods. The FiOS fiber optic system is currently stifled by existing in-house wiring, distribution, and other hardware and software factors that eliminate the possibility of reaching those speeds (i.e., bandwidth).

Google will not reveal many of the details of their competitive, ultra high-speed broadband blueprint; but they began soliciting feedback from interested government organizations and individual citizens last year. Google recently reported the results of this request for information (RFI); they have been overwhelmingly positive in favor of systems being installed in various parts of the country (see map).

This map displays where the responses were concentrated. Each small dot represents a government response, and each large dot represents locations where more than 1,000 residents submitted a nomination.

Google has been mum concerning the particular methodologies they plan on using for the project; but certain probabilities can be extrapolated from the information they have released, and/or leaked so far: The fact that between 50,000 and 500,000 potential customers will be served indicates at least one relatively large landmass will be included; probably at least 100 square, well-populated miles in an urban area. In fact, Kansas City is rumored to be the initial test location; and, according to reports from reliable sources, Google HDTV service could be included in the service offering.

The importance of the 100 miles squared assumption lies in the fact that the efficacy of all broadband technologies is at least somewhat dependent on distance. Fiber optic cable is the least sensitive to degradation due to these factors, making it the only viable infrastructure solution in Google’s case.

Additionally, the existing wiring within the homes and businesses being served will have the affect of limiting bandwidth to a large degree. For instance, assuming the premises in Kansas City are currently 90% wired with a combination of RG6 Coaxial cable and Category 5 Ethernet cable (the prevalent status-quo in most modern buildings nationwide), Google will be forced either to install their own cable or ask these customers to upgrade it themselves as neither infrastructure is reliably capable of gigabit bandwidth—even in a LAN situation.

Furthermore, computer network interface cards (NICs) and other hardware within these premises must be giga-bit enabled in order to take full advantage of the benefits the new infrastructure will bring. Running new fiber optic cable within the premises and installing fiber-optic NICs would provide the best results and immense potential for future system upgrades.

Google may be taking on one monstrous experimental project. Installing fiber direct to the home often involves the digging up of property for underground installations; a risky proposition at best, and one that Verizon is finding quite frustrating financially, as well as painstakingly precipitous from a customer satisfaction standpoint. However, if anyone can do it, the powerful technology behemoth, Google, would be the one to try—and I for one wish them the best of luck. The future of this nation’s ability to compete with overseas entities like Japan and South Korea for bandwidth will depend on a fiber optic option. Building the infrastructure will help create many much needed jobs to help boost the economy as well. Google’s experimental fiber network – YouTube

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