Google Fiber Labs

Google Fiber announced this week that the first project from its GFiber Labs is a 20 Gbps service offering supported by Wi-Fi 7. It is slated to be available as an early access offering by the end of the year.

The project will be comprised of Nokia’s 25G PON technology and pre-certified Wi-Fi 7 routers. Google Fiber says that the platform will increase speeds by as much as a factor of 10 without requiring changes to fiber in the ground.

“Next generation internet will require pushing the boundaries of the entire internet ecosystem,” Nick Saporito, head of product for Google Fiber, wrote in a blog post. “With GFiber Labs, we’re working to get the newest technologies into customers’ homes even more quickly. We believe investments in advanced network technologies will catalyze change and be a game-changer for consumers.”  

The blog offered few specifics about the new platform, which first will be offered to a small group of Google Fiber customers in selected areas.

Google is not alone in developing both Wi-Fi 7 or networks supporting 20 Gbps speeds or faster. It makes sense for the technologies to move in tandem, because the value of increasing speeds in one segment could be neutralized if another segment becomes a bottleneck.

On the Wi-Fi 7 side, Charter Communications and Qualcomm Technologies are collaborating on a router for the service provider’s residential and business customers. The Wi-Fi 7 device is expected to be available next year.

In mid-October, Omdia conducted research for Wi-Fi provider Airties that suggested that the service provider ecosystem should pay close attention to latency and quality of experience (QoE) in the home. The challenge is that three things are increasing: network speeds, the number of connected devices, and the real-time nature of the services to which people subscribe.

The industry also is moving to 25 Gbps networks. In September, the Dell’Oro Group raised its forecast for the technology. It said that revenues would triple between the end of this year through 2025.

One 25 Gbps deployment is by EPB in Chattanooga, Tenn. In August 2022, the municipally owned electric and broadband company launched 25 Gbps service throughout Chattanooga. The first customer for the service was the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Convention Center.

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