Google WiFi Continues to Be One of the Most Successful Wireless Nets

Posted by at 8:06 am on August 17, 2009

The Google wireless broadband network built with Tropos routers, in Mountain View, California marks its third anniversary in August of this year and continues to experience unprecedented usage. The steady growth trend was outpaced in a recent 30-day period as the number of users jumped from 16,000 to 19,000, according to Google’s statistics. On a daily basis, the network now transports close to 600 gigabytes of user data — double the volume from just two years ago. “We continue to experience extremely high demand -“ both in terms of users and bandwidth,” said Karl Garcia at Google, who leads the Google WiFi project. “We’ve seen the iPhone and other Wi-Fi enabled handheld devices as significant drivers of the high demand we see. Currently nearly a quarter of all devices that connect to our network are handhelds, compared to almost none when we launched the network,” said Garcia.

“The launch of the iPhone significantly drove up network use; we’ve identified 4,000 unique iPhones on the network in just the last 30 days. We’ve seen the iPhone and other Wi-Fi enabled handheld devices as significant drivers of the high demand we see. Currently nearly a quarter of all devices that connect to our network are handhelds, compared to almost none when we launched the network,” said Garcia.

The coverage area of Google WiFi is approximately 12 square miles and incorporates business and residential areas. The high performance broadband network is accessible to the community and visitors free of charge; all they need is a Wi-Fi enabled device and a Google account. “The Google WiFi network is a valuable community resource and helps increase economic development by making it easy for residents and visitors to stay connected anywhere around town,” said Margaret Abe-Koba, mayor of Mountain View. “We are very pleased that Google continues to support our community with this robust service.”

The Google WiFi network has managed to keep pace with the doubling in bandwidth demand without major hardware upgrades. Instead, most of the increases in capacity have been due to innovations in the Tropos software and new, patented algorithms to coordinate and manage radio spectrum resources. These include PowerCurve, which adjusts the power and bit rate of each packet; Airtime Congestion Control, which senses congestion and allocates resources fairly; and Smart Channel, which maximizes spectral reuse and avoids interference. These three patent-pending technologies enable far more efficient use of radio resources than before, typically quadrupling the data capacity for the same swath of spectrum.

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