Foo - Anybody using WiMAX 4G service like Clear?
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We're moving to a new office that has a Clear.com WiMAX antenna on the roof.
We're thinking of trying that instead of comcast (yuk) or DSL (double yuk). Fios isn't available in that building yet.
Do any of you foosters have any experience using Clear?
09-15-10, 04:21 PM
For the primary internet service for a business, I would advice against it.
Speeds are ok for general email and other limited use by a small number of computers, but if you're running everything over a single Clear router, you're bound to experience slowness.
I piggybacked off a neighbor's Clear connection for a month before getting my own DSL service. If all I had were a laptop and didn't do more than watch occasional youtube videos, it would be a very good value, but I get more consistent performance and less latency from my very basic 768kbps DSL than the standard 1 Mbps Clear.
Since I piggybacked, I don't know anything about their customer service. Qwest and Comcast suck at this for residential accounts. If you sign up for a business account (which costs extra) they're more responsive.
09-16-10, 02:13 AM
SPIKE, my experience isn't directly applicable to your situation, but it may be of some help.
I've been a Clear subscriber for about half a year, forced upon me since AT&T couldn't schedule me for DSL replacement installation for 3 weeks (yet they were advertising next day installation, and they were able to provide landline dialup service after I canceled the order but continued to bill me for 3 months).
Clear's service has been quicker than what I had with AT&T DSL (mid-tier speed). With a 2-year agreement I'm no longer regularly finding price increase notices buried in AT&T billing statements. Clear hasn't caused any billing problems so far.
Occasionally Clear seems to send out update programming to the WiMax unit--no regular schedule, no advance notice given--which precludes use until it's completed, but that tends to be about this time of night (2 to 3 am). My contacts with cust service have not been unprofessional (once at my request they remotely reset my modem to look to a different tower, to test whether that would improve signal strength; the agent also wanted me to reset the network config password back to the product default, hard for me to believe). You'll want to check how far you are from and the number of nearby towers for Clear (3>2>1).
I do work from home, so reliability has been important; I'm the only user here but access is fine in combination with my AirPort wireless network (Macs and iPod) and wired ethernet devices. Atmospheric conditions appear to affect signal strength (e.g., especially in advance of or trailing large barometric change), as well as aircraft. On a scale of 5, I regularly have 4 LED strength, but it works (slower) at 3 LEDs. Service doesn't seem to degrade by simultaneous use of the service by others (unlike cable/dish), but that may be a function of a less popular service.
Had I been able to wait, I would have preferred using the 3G/4G combination USB modem for flexibility.
Thanks Seamless. Good info. We'll probably do clear's 14-day trial, just to see how it works, but still sign up with comcast for the main connection.
09-16-10, 06:56 PM
We used Clear for about a week before returning it.
We signed up for the Home + Mobile package because we wanted the faster speed and unlimited data it provided because we were using it to replace cable TV service, and we didn't want streaming quality hindered by lack of bandwidth. We were guaranteed 10Mbps down, and never got faster than 3Mbps down. I know it wasn't due to proximity to their antenna, as I can see one one of them 2 blocks away out my window right now, and another is directly across the street from our bedroom. We're on the 23rd floor, and are above them, so we won't be affected by the "umbrella effect" that sometimes occurs.
We stayed with Time Warner internet service until AT&T opened up U-Verse access in our building. Our speeds are slower with AT&T's U-Verse than they were with Time Warner, but it's worth it to us to not have to deal with Time Warner. In case anyone is wondering, with Time Warner we were paying for a 15Mbps connection, but getting 30Mbps. With AT&T we pay for 18Mbps and get 17Mbps as of my last Speed Test. As soon as the faster speed package (24Mbps, I believe) is available in our building, we'll upgrade to it.
I do have friends who have Clear, and swear by it. I also have information from a very reliable source that Clear is having infrastructure issues and have obtained testing equipment on a long-term lease to help diagnose and fix the problem. I think Clear is trying to expand too quickly across the USA. I think they'd be better off ensuring their existing setups are running perfectly before starting up new ones. Once they get the existing bugs worked out, they should have no problems with new installations, or they'll be able to fix them quicker.
09-16-10, 07:01 PM
I was very skeptical of Clear. Then a rep came in and plugged the modem in to my Vonage router and I started streaming netflix and made a Vonage call. I was sold instantly. Not as fast as Comcast, but half the price.
I get a steady 5 bars (full strength) at my location.
I'm just a one person business, can't say how well it scales for multiple users.
I've been a user for about a year now and just last night was our first serious outtage - out from around 6 pm - ??? at least 7pm.
Here's my speedtest:
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