Google files to test millimeter-wave data with airborne terminals

Google has applied to the FCC to conduct “airborne” testing of data over millimeter-wave frequencies in Northern Nevada. I saw the frequencies and thought this was another test of millimeter-wave radar for automatic cruise control; Google has applied to test that several times since 2011. The emission designators for the current transmissions, however, contain the symbols D1D; that’s data, not radar. An application to the FCC to test millimeter-wave data is a first for Google.

There’s little to go on, just the application form and, since Google requested confidential processing, a redacted exhibit. Testing is to be in three bands:  75.21-75.79, 84.21-84.79, and 85.21-85.79 GHz. Two bandwidths are specified: 60 and 580 MHz.

The geographic coordinates Google gives for the center of the testing correspond to the Winnemucca Municipal Airport in Winnemucca, Nevada. Testing is to take place within 100 kilometers of there.

In the Exhibit, Google has an entry for “Number of Airborne Terminals,” with the number redacted. But, at least we know there’s an airborne component. And, since operations are referenced to an airport, I presume the terminals are on drones and not balloons.

Three antenna types indicated with gain and beam width specified for each. There’s one with 38 dBi gain and 2-degree beam width, and one with 43 dBi gain and 1.2 degree beam width. The third one has 53 dBi gain and 0.37 degree beam width; I suppose it’s part of a relatively large ground terminal used to communicate with the airborne terminals and their smaller, lighter, lower-gain antennas.


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