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Google parent company Alphabet is exploring gigabit high-speed Wi-Fi technology to connect to homes

Alphabet has been experimenting with millimeter wave broadcasts since at least 2014, but Schmidt's comments come just months after new plans from Google's competitors to develop similar technology.

Google parent company Alphabet is actively exploring gigabit Wi-Fi technology, Chairman Eric Schmidt said on a shareholder call this week. Also known as millimeter wave technology, the system would serve as a replacement for otherwise expensive infrastructure connecting Google Fiber to individual homes and businesses, a process Schmidt described as "cheaper than digging up your garden." Schmidt said he met with Larry Page and Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat on Tuesday to discuss the technology. 

Facebook plans to deploy a test version of its Terragraph Wi-Fi system in San Jose later this year, run out of the company's connectivity lab. The Starry Wi-Fi system uses similar technology, although its business model differs significantly from Terragraph.

This means millimeter waves are longer than infrared waves or x-rays (sample airport body scanner or conver X-ray scanner), for example, but shorter than radio waves or microwaves. The millimeter-wave region of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponds to radio band frequencies of 30 GHz to 300 GHz and is sometimes called the Extremely High Frequency (EHF) range.

Because of their high frequency, millimeter wave signals can carry far more information than a conventional Wi-Fi signal, but they're also more easily absorbed by walls and even atmospheric moisture. As a result, most systems use the technology as a replacement for last-mile fiber between buildings and nearby hubs, often the most expensive part of a traditional fiber network. While the underlying technology is still experimental, it could have significant benefits for Google Fiber, which recently announced plans to expand to San Francisco.

source: The Wall Street Journal

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