All of Google’s services — from Google Docs to YouTube — depend on fast network connections to perform well. And with the Internet going mobile, Google is very interested in technologies that will speed up wireless communications.
That’s why the search giant has bought a small 5G cellular technology company called Alpental Technologies.
The deal was actually done weeks ago, but Google decided to keep it on the down-low. The search giant isn’t saying why it bought the company or what it has in mind for the technology.
But Google has made investments in network technologies many times over the years. It once invested in “dark fiber,” then a lot of Wi-fi tech, then hot air balloons. Then it launched a consumer fiber network of its own (Google Fiber). So it’s no huge surprise that the company is investing in next generation cellular tech.
Alpental (meaning “Alpine Valley” in German) was started by a couple of Clearwire engineers, Michael Hart and Pete Gelbman. The two have developed a high-speed networking technology that runs on the 60 GHz spectrum band, as the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog learned from a 2013 FCC document filed by Alpental.
This spectrum band has been used to connect buildings up to a mile apart at speeds of up to seven gigibits per second. Laying physical optical lines is very expensive and is likely to become a thing of the past as wireless technology develops further.
Hart and Gelbman are now Google employees.