Although Google Fiber has been known as the ne plus ultra of broadband connectivity (especially since it stands apart from established ISPs), installing it has been an expensive endeavor. To get around this, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is looking into a cheaper alternative: gigabit Wi-Fi. In particular, the company is exploring millimeter wave technology, which runs at a higher frequency than conventional Wi-Fi, making it faster but also more susceptible to interference.
This isn’t the first time Alphabet has dipped into the millimeter wave end of the pool. The company’s Project Skybender, announced earlier this year, uses the technology to beam 5G internet from solar-powered drones. The U.S. military has also investigated millimeter wave technology, and it also is a key component of Facebook’s Terragraph gigabit service. Facebook has documented millimeter wave signal’s tendency to dissipate at distance, and has worked to mitigate the problem.