Just when I think Clear WiMax in Atlanta, GA couldn’t suck any harder, they implement a new draconian cap/bandwidth throttle and show they are the queen of horrible internet service.
Clear Wireless does NOT want you to use their service. If you have a download running for over 15 minutes, your bandwidth instantly drops to 512kbps: i.e. your normally unstable 4-8Mbps WiMax connection will drop to a rock-solid .5Mbps.
It appears that Clear has resolved their issues with poor signal strength (now showing a CINR of 22db), but at 512kbps It will take me 2-3 days to download a Linux ISO…
I am assuming this is how Clear can support all of those 4G EVOs that were released into the wild a few months back.
This is the Clear 4G coverage map (from Clear’s web site) for Atlanta, GA:
Notice all of the white spots (I would include all of the light green as well) where there is no WiMax coverage?
From my understanding, WiMax is directional and line-of-site. All of the WiMax antennas point South, creating a cone of WiMax coverage (note the triangle shaped patterns on the right side of the map). You need to align your home WiMax modem so it’s antennas face north toward your closest tower. If there are trees or buildings in the way, your coverage will be degraded. If it is off axis by more than a few degrees, your throughput will suffer even more. If it rains, your speed will drop to 1/2 of normal. i.e., WiMax sucks!
I actually can see ‘see’ 11 towers on my modem- albeit only 4 of them are close enough to actually be usable:
In addition, as a WiMax market matures, the saturation of a single tower can quickly be exceeded if too many people try to access the Internet at the same time (kind of like the problem of being on a busy cable modem node). In Atlanta, I believe Clear has greatly oversold their service as I can rarely achieve the speeds I was constantly getting at this time last year (usually only during 3am – 5am).
I did a test with my Clear USB stick last week; I plugged it in to my laptop and started a download log as I drove into work. When I arrived at my office (9 miles away via the Interstate) I had experienced no less than 5 connection drops- most of them taking 30+ seconds to reconnect. Not quite the 3G experience.
In short, Clear WiMax has very spotty coverage and they do not expect you to actually use your connection. If you are planning on getting Clear WiMax to replace your existing DSL/Cable Internet- JUST DON’T! Wait for AT&T U-Verse or upgrade your existing service to a faster connection (AT&T DSL goes up to 6Mbps, Comcast up to 12Mbps)- all at a comparable speed to Clear WiMax- and without the added headache of trying to align the modem just perfect to hit the right antenna (and the WiMax speed drop when it rains).
So when is LTE going to be rolling out?