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Amazon May Be Hiding Its Plans to Test New Wireless Tech by Masquerading as a Massage Spa

Published: December 1, 2018
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Source: ieee.org

What do a Silicon Valley massage spa, a local community college, and a California plastics manufacturer have in common? They will soon be testing hundreds of cutting-edge wireless devices, according to an application for an experimental permit filed last week with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

If that sounds unlikely, it is. It seems much more likely that the new devices will actually be tested at three nearby Amazon facilities. These include two buildings belonging to the company’s secretive Lab126 research division, and one of the retailer’s largest fulfillment centers in the state.

On 19 November, a company called Chrome Enterprises sought permission to test up to 450 prototype devices using Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), a new technology that aims to deliver ultrafast wireless broadband over shared radio frequencies.

In particular, CBRS opens access to a radio frequency band (3.5 gigahertz) that the FCC had previously set aside for military use, and makes it so that the military can share that band with anyone who buys a router or phone that supports the service, or has a cellphone plan with a carrier that has paid for a sliver of the band.

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