Spectrum 2025: Google's Pragmatic Road to 5G

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Spectrum 2025 -- Google's spectrum engineering lead is looking into millimeter wave radios and beyond for future wireless technologies but believes that the technology 5G services will be based on already exists.

Talking about how he saw the next-generation technology evolving at Light Reading's debut Spectrum 2025 event Thursday, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Andy Clegg suggested that "LTE or some variant using carrier aggregation" will be the basis of 5G technology.

"It's not some new kind of technology that is going to pop out," Clegg said.

Clegg on 5G

5G will use "spectrum sharing, carrier aggregation, advanced beam-forming" along with dense "massive MIMO" antenna arrays to boost data rates to fiber-like speeds. Next-generation networks are also expected to be built with radios even closer together with more small cells and "tetra cells." (See Why You Should Care About LTE-Advanced (Eventually).)

As Clegg noted, all of this technology exists today, albeit with some aspects being more advanced than others. "There's a difference today between what's possible and what's practical," the Google guy stated. (See Google Searching for 5G Wireless Engineer.)

Clegg talked in some detail about millimeter wave radios during his presentation. "I think millimeter wave may play a role in 5G," he allowed. (See Google Buys Alpental for Potential 5G Future.)

This, however, will take regulatory action around the 30GHz to 300GHz millimeter wave bands, he added. (See Helping Millimeter Wave Achieve Its Potential.)

5G will go up into higher frequencies than 4G LTE today though: "Below 20, below 10, below even 6GHz," Clegg suggested. (See The Many Faces of 5G .)

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our 5G channel here on Light Reading.

Google is also looking much further into the future too. "Can we go to terahertz frequencies?" asked Clegg. "Is it worth exploring for very short-range, very high-bandwidth communications?"

Pockets around 900GHz might be worth exploring for radios with Bluetooth-type applications.

All things considered, though, Clegg suggested the use of such high-frequency spectrum is off in the far future. "Maybe 2125?" he quipped.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

CARLINI_J 3/2/2015 | 11:31:53 AM
PRAGMATIC ROAD??? All these "futurists" better understand that the "Internet of Things" is only going to be as good as the Internet of Reality - the Network Infrastructure which will be in place when all this growth in devices and traffic takes place.

We need to upgrade backhaul networks as well as everything in the front-end so that you can support 1-3Gbps to an end-user, 100-400Gbps to en Enterprise (Corporate User) and the the backbones should be handling multi-terabit speeds by 2020.

Otherwise, 5G Networks are just talk.

- JAMES CARLINI, author of LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY. (which has a whole chapter on 5G Networks)



KitKilgour 2/10/2015 | 5:39:44 PM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? Yes. Does seem very much like a re-hash
sineira 2/10/2015 | 4:46:20 PM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? Google is not exactly know for being the leader in Wireless technology development or deployment. It is a nice fluffy summary of what the major players already have said though.
DanJones 2/10/2015 | 3:42:19 PM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? It was referenced on a slide. Appeared to be used in the sense of a micro cell  radio.
KitKilgour 2/10/2015 | 3:22:05 AM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? One of the reasons that I asked the question because the author did not describe it, nor in to the referenced link. Hopefully a much more advanced version if referring to TETRA: TETRA is now archaic in terms of data rates, but it does have group call functionality needed for public safety. The, UK, for instance is looking to replace it with LTE, and there is a big effort in 3GPP to add the necessary pre-emption, group call and P2P functionality.

TETRA was also noticeable for the number of proprietary handset implementations, since many organisations required integration with legacy analogue technology.  As far as I can tell, although there were a number of more advanced features than GSM had, one key design failing was not having the principle that a handset indicates the features that it supports to the network, and the network selects whcih are used. This makes upgrading and interoperability pretty tough,
R Clark 2/10/2015 | 2:47:20 AM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? I'm also wondering what a tetra cell is. A four-sided cell?

That aside, Google seems to be pretty much on board with what the most of the industry is saying about 5G. People haven't staked out very strong positions just yet.

I can see the logic of Google fossicking around in wireless networking tech. How far will they go?



mhhf1ve 2/9/2015 | 6:34:48 PM
I'm wondering when OAM tech will be available... It's nice to see wireless folks discussing the roadmap of how spectrum will be used and managed in the future, but I haven't seen much discussion on the "infinite bandwidth" that might be possible with some tech that hasn't yet graduated from the laboratory.


OAM multiplexing could be a real game changer if it can be made commercially practical. I don't think anyone knows how long it'll take for the tech to be viable, but as long as we're talking about stuff that won't happen for years and years in the future.... 
mhhf1ve 2/9/2015 | 6:26:09 PM
Re: Tetra cell in 5G? The TETRA concept has been around since 1995, I think?


But perhaps we're moving towards some more advanced version? Or another technology that just has a similar name?
KitKilgour 2/9/2015 | 12:55:11 PM
Tetra cell in 5G? A "Tetra cell" is mentioned but not described - is there any more information on the concept?

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