A Tour of the Google “Fiber Space”

by David Vogel on August 8, 2012

What could you do with 100 times faster internet? That’s the formerly-hypothethical question Google is helping potential customers answer in their new “Fiber Space” showroom.

KC is the launch site for Google’s new fiberoptic network, and the tech behemoth is working hard to ensure KC becomes a successful launchpad for a nationwide push. I recently got to tour the Fiber Space and test out it’s ground-breaking 1,000 Mega-Bytes-Per-Second (mbps) connection speeds.

Stepping inside the newly-skinned Google Fiber storefront, you’re greeted by a Fiber Space staffer with a map of the building. The layout includes glass-walled areas that show off the potential applications of Google Fiber for education, health and entertainment.

Fiber Space Interior

First up is showcase of the Google Fiber “boxes” (the small black modem-sized boxes the drive the network connection, wifi storage and TV functionality) and a bank of Chromebooks running on the Fiber Space high-speed wifi. Using the wifi, I pulled up Speedtest.net to check the connection. The test reached speeds as fast as 250 mbps for uploading and downloading, about a quarter of the 1-terrabyte speed Google Fiber is rated for, but still more than 100 times faster than the connection I’m using as we speak.

I ran another test from a wired computer in Fiber Space, and got this result. Yes, that’s 945 mbps.

A speed test of the Google Fiber internet connection

After checking out the model cityscape used in the Google Fiber commercials

Model Cityscape from Google Fiber Commercial

…I moved onto the “Education” pod, where a group was performing a high-def video conference with several teachers in a remote location. The demo was impressive, as it was the first time I’ve actually seen that actually looked as good as the ones in the Cisco commercials.

Next, I stepped into a smaller closet-size room, where I was greeted on a large flatscreen by a nutritional expert appearing via web conference front nearby KU Med. Instead of nutrition questions, I asked her about the technology driving our connection. While the conference appeared like it could have been conducted using a Google+ Hangout, she confirmed that it was actually a Cisco product designed for healthcare use. The practical applications include both simple checkups like the one we were pretending to conduct, to smaller hospitals being able to remote in an expert, instantly.

So, super-high-speed internet (provided by Google Fiber or whomever catches up) will transform education and health, but what about what really maters: our entertainment?

The next three areas showed off the fun Google Fiber is ready to stream to our living rooms: high-speed browsing (think about Google Earth running seamlessly), streaming BluRay-quality movies, and moving all your videogames to the cloud.

The interior of the Google Fiber Space is a mixture of modern red-green-yellow-blue accents and Kansas-City themed artwork, combined with the different “living room” demo areas, interactive video walls, and an in-house coffee house:

Google Fiber Space Interior

The coolest tributes to Fiber’s first home: the shuttlecock light fixtures that are a play on KC’s favorite lawn decorations

Google Fiber Shuttlecock Lights

…and this collage made of Royals and Chiefs sports cards.

Google Fiber Artwork

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