Google applies for experimental 3.5 GHz license in Kansas City

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is asking the FCC for special temporary authority to expand testing in the 3.5 GHz band in Kansas City, but its public filing doesn't reveal much more than that.

In a heavily redacted version of Google's request, made public this week, the company says it is requesting to operate on the frequencies between 3550 and 3700 MHz, which have been opened for innovative small cell spectrum sharing in connection with the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Google promises to avoid harmful interference to incumbent operations throughout the band and with operations in adjacent bands.

The document states that both directional and omnidirectional antennas will be used, but it doesn't specify how many antennas will be used. "Operations across the proposed frequencies will be consistent with the rules for CBRS devices (CBSDs) set forth in Part 96 of the Commission's rules," the company states.

Based on that, it looks as though the company is going to do a small-cell system as envisioned by the FCC in its 3.5 GHz rules, according to Steven Crowley, an engineering consultant who posted about the filing on Twitter. Preston Marshall, Google's wireless networking expert, also is active in the Wireless Innovation Forum group that is looking at 3.5 GHz specifications. 

It also looks like Google is doing some propagation testing, but unlike many of Google's recent experimental applications, drones do not seem to be part of this one, which appears strictly terrestrial in nature, Crowley said.

A year ago, Google said its testing revealed that LTE and Wi-Fi networks can work in close proximity to radar systems in the 3.5 GHz band, proving it is unnecessary to establish large exclusion zones to protect commercial wireless systems from harmful radar interference. Those experiments focused on SPN-43 radar systems, which are used by the Naval Air Systems Command for air traffic control. Google conducted the tests in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Defense and Navy. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Federated Wireless partnered with Google on the tests. 

Google previously also sought permission to operate in 3550-3575 MHz for testing and measuring propagation losses in Virginia, and it filed a similar application for testing in Mountain View, Calif.

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