What’s inside Google’s Fiber Huts?
Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandress told the Phoenix Sun that the huts are a type of data center, about 26-feet by 11-feet in size.
The huts contain fiber-optic equipment and links to the regional network that circles a metropolitan area. Another set of neighborhood “cabinets” connect to residences and businesses.
Wandress said the huts will be located in unobtrusive locations such as water treatment plants or adjacent to parking lots.
Google announced in February that it was considering Portland, Phoenix, Raleigh, N.C., Salt Lake City, San Jose, Charlotte, N.C. Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn. and San Antonio for its high-speed network. The company already has such a system up and running in Provo, Utah, Austin and Kansas City.
The Phoenix City Council and Portland are considering ordinances to lease 30 to 40 parcels of public land to Google. The company wants a standard license approved in advance (pdf) for operating on public land.
Phoenix would only charge Google a $2.75-per-square-foot fee for the huts. That translates into about $154,000 annually for 40 such structures.
Portland estimates Google will need about 15 across the city, plus as many as five huts in each of the five suburbs where Google is contemplating service, or about 40 total for the Portland region.
But why those cities?
Some of those cities already have extensive fiber infrastructure and are medium size (around 500,000 population). Portland and Phoenix also have large Intel facilities.
What’s in the huts?
It may be just coincidental, but Intel is very committed to Cloud-based radio access networks, using standardized Intel servers to do the work of basestations that were formerly located at the tower. That reportedly can cut costs in half, with basestation compute power available dynamically. The size and cost of cells sites can also be reduced, sometimes to about the size of a WiFi access point.
A modulated RF carrier is transmitted from the tower to the cloud RAN. The tower radio only needs an optical converter and an RF amplifier. It eliminates racks of air conditioned gear at the tower. Cloud-based small cells will fit on utility poles.
Will the “fiber huts” have cloud-based wireless basetations? It’s still unknown.
China Mobile has over 900,000 3G base stations and would like to replace their old hardware with basestations running in a datacenter.
Intel can support up to 100 base stations in a single server. Two Core i7 servers running the basestation can be offloaded to another server, load balancing.
Public land available at water bureau sites may also work for wireless towers. Many water bureaus control remote pump stations using unlicensed 900 MHz SCADA radios.
Perhaps Google could provide 40 or so fiber huts in a metropolitan region with 600 MHz wireless or “white spaces” and enable the smaller local fiber cabinets with 2 or 5 GHz wireless on utility poles. If you were designing a greenfield wireless infrastructure, wouldn’t you try something like that?
In Kansas City, the first city where Google Fiber was offered, it costs $70 a month for Gigabit internet. High-definition cable TV is available for an additional $50 a month. Google includes a DVR, which it calls a “Storage Box,” that can record up to eight shows at a time and includes 500 hours of HD storage.
By comparison, Comcast’s 20 mbps service costs $54 to $65 a month, depending on whether or not subscribers also have TV or phone service. Comcast’s basic TV package is $70 a month. A DVR and HD service cost extra.
Google Fiber also offers slower Internet connections of 5 mbps (and 1 mbps upload) for at least seven years to customers who pay a $300 installation fee.
Related Fiber Optic articles on Dailywireless include; Google Fiber Going Wireless?, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud, Google Fiber Expands to More Cities, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City , FCC Authorizes High Power at 5.15 – 5.25 GHz, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network, FCC Moves to Add 195 MHz to Unlicensed 5 GHz band, Google Blasts Kansas Bill to Limit Fiber Competition, It’s Official: Austin Gets Google Fiber, Kansas City Wins Google Fiber, Gigabit Seattle: Late Paying Bills, RUS Awards $1.2B for Broadband, City Fiber Strategies, US Broadband Sub Count, Hawaii Plans Broadband Initiative, Unlicensed Muni Broadband: Take Two?, Ten Largest Data Centers, The Fiber Utility, 1 Gbps Fiber Comes Home,