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Wireless Networking Communications Hardware

Companies Betting on WiMAX 106

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the takin-it-to-the-max dept.
PreacherTom writes "This week, two companies — NextWave and Clearwire — filed to go public and make their fortunes with WiMAX, a wireless broadband technology expected to make serious inroads into the telecom market by offering a high-speed alternative to DSL, Cable, and other current offerings. Market researcher Gartner Dataquest expects the North American WiMAX services market to swell from 30,000 connections in 2006 to 21.2 million by 2011. Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?"
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Companies Betting on WiMAX

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  • some perspective (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Gartner Dataquest expects the North American WiMAX services market to swell from 30,000 connections in 2006 to 21.2 million by 2011
    In the first 3 years of national cellular service, 69.8 million connections were maintained by just under 300 million Americans. They are expecting 21.2 million connections in 7 years. Hell, even the telegraph the Model T (100% proprietary - a single company, Ford, produced it) made a comparatively bigger impact.
    • by bbsguru (586178) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:54PM (#17315644) Homepage Journal
      You're really comparing Fossils and Ferrets there: The Model 'T' was revolutionary in that it made available a new technology that people already wanted available in quantity, and at a price most could afford.

      Cell phones, like automobiles, were adopted first by the wealthy, then as prices dropped and supplies increased (a connection there???), they became ubiquitous.

      As WiMax enters the market, most of the country is a vastly different landscape. The need for broadband is already being met by other means in most places. Near where I live, there is a market for WiMax (being served by Clearwire), because there are no wired alternatives. It is a large market geographically, but not so much in population. That's the kind of market Clearwire has been working in, becasuse it offers them the best chance of success. No real competition means they are selling on the availability of access, not the features of WiMax.

      When WiMax becomes the issue, which it will when they expand further into markets already more widely served, the pitch will have to be more specific. So far, I haven't seen WiMax roaming happen, but that would be the benefit that offers something over the local telco or cable company.

      21.3 Million in 7 years? Maybe. Is that significant in a world with so many alternatives? Maybe so.
      • "The Model 'T' was revolutionary in that it made available a new technology that people already wanted available in quantity, and at a price most could afford. Yeah and in WiMax case, it will not be at a price most could afford unless subsidized. I don't care if they can offer it at 29.95/mo, it's still not the order of the model T (4.95/mo would be at that level). And it's because the corporations are planning for this rollout vs. the WiFi era (WiFi was more riskier biz oppty)--they can squeeze every pen
  • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:19PM (#17315174)
    Wireless (GSM) data is expensive. You need to pay out the nose for it, and you're probably going to need a bulky contract.

    If WiMAX lets me connect my devices "in the wild" at a reasonable price and without a hefty contract, then it'll be a winner.

    To businesses, nobody's going to drop Verizon or Sprint or Cingular or TMobile's data services for a new offering as long as they're already in an existing relationship and entrenched in hardware (sorry, we just moved to Treos or Blackberries). It's the you and me's of the world -- and we need cheap devices, contracts and rates, or it's just another "thing" that our company pays for.
    • by spyder913 (448266) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:58PM (#17315696)
      Judging by the comments on Broadband Reports [dslreports.com] they sound just as bad as wireless phone companies in the contract department -- automatically resubscribing people to another year of service and charging $180 to break out of "contracts" early.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Infinivert (1042166)
        My hometown was one of (if not the) first test markets for Clearwire. It's decent I guess, but cuts in and out occasionally. There's a competing company in town now (Xanadoo) offering the same technology with none of the contract garbage. --Josh
        • by technoid_ (136914)
          Let me guess, Abilene, Texas? I was living there when Clearwire came in and Pegasus started pushing the Xanadoo. I found the Clearwire network to be needlessly messy for someone who was a supposed leader in wireless technology. DNS was slow, and the reverse DNS would cause putty sessions to time out when connecting. My signal level would bounce from 4 bars down to 1 bar (which was unusable). I wanted to try the Xanadoo service, but moved from the area before I had a chance.

          On the positive of Clearwire'
        • "My hometown was one of (if not the) first test markets for Clearwire. It's decent I guess, but cuts in and out occasionally. There's a competing company in town now (Xanadoo) offering the same technology with none of the contract garbage. --Josh"

          I do find that when the connection cuts out, a quick ifdown eth0 && ifup eth0 works a treat.

          Really, the biggest advantage of Clearwire is that there aren't any installation costs.
          • I also have been able to resolve this (no pun intended) by /etc/init.d/net.eth0 restart, or by power cycling my router. My problem with clearwire is that they throttle p2p networking. I spent four days downloading a knoppix dvd torrent and only got to 47%. I leeched off my neighbors qwest dsl and the complete download took just over 1 hour.

            This is in Tacoma, WA.
            • by xappax (876447)
              My problem with clearwire is that they throttle p2p networking

              Use Azureus, with protocol encryption enabled. As far as I know, the current throttling methods don't work for obfuscated/encrypted streams. If enough people resist throttling, maybe it'll persuade ISPs to use local torrent caching instead, which will cut down on their bandwidth bill and increase our speeds too.
              • Well I do use Azureus with encryption. I even refuse unencrypted connections. I guess clearwire throttles unrecognizable traffic.
                • by xappax (876447)
                  Wow, that's amazingly restrictive if it's true. You could try doing things like downloading a file over an https:/// [https] link or transferring data over an encrypted tunnel - if those are slow too, then they must be throttling all unrecognizable traffic, which is totally fucked up and probably worthy of a complaint to your ISP, since they're blocking all sorts of legitimate services.

                  If not, they may have some other method of figuring out what is and isn't bit torrent traffic. I suspect your experiences would
      • by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:47PM (#17316236) Homepage
        Judging by the comments on Broadband Reports they sound just as bad as wireless phone companies in the contract department -- automatically resubscribing people to another year of service and charging $180 to break out of "contracts" early.

        While I'm not usually one to defend big business, it's not really all that difficult to cancel your plan after your contract expires. I've done it before, and it's actually a very easy process. As for the period before your contract expires, you *did* sign the contract, presumably in exchange for a huge discount on your phone. You didn't have to sign the contract...you could have paid full price for the phone, and entered into a month-by-month agreement with the provider. It's your own fault if you're not happy with the contract that you signed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by profplump (309017)
          It's actually very difficult to bring your own phone in for new service with most carriers. It's even fairly difficult to bring your old phone from the same carrier back in to service if it's been deactivated for any period of time. With some carriers it can be done, but they don't make it easy.
          • by omeomi (675045)
            It's actually very difficult to bring your own phone in for new service with most carriers

            No, you can't usually bring your own phone in, but you could pay the full purchase price on their phone, rather than opting for the contract-based discount.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by profplump (309017)
              So I can pay the cancelation fee at the start or the end of the contract? That's not much of a choice.

              We already decided AT&T couldn't force us to buy their land-line phones; why are cellular companies allowed to do the same thing?
              • by omeomi (675045)
                So I can pay the cancelation fee at the start or the end of the contract? That's not much of a choice.

                What you're expecting is that they *give* you a phone that costs them a few hundred dollars, without asking anything in return?
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by profplump (309017)
                  No, I'm expecting that I can buy a used phone for $30 from some other customer who already paid their $300 and who has since canceled their service. Or that I can use any technically compatible phone that I purchased from any other vendor. Why is the service provider the only place that I'm allowed to by phones?
                  • by omeomi (675045)
                    Why is the service provider the only place that I'm allowed to by phones?

                    Because nobody's passed a law yet forcing them to allow you to use whatever phone you might have laying around...
                    • by Gablar (971731)

                      Why is the service provider the only place that I'm allowed to by phones?

                      Because nobody's passed a law yet forcing them to allow you to use whatever phone you might have laying around...

                      Or maybe they dont have a competitor that offers that option. Competition would solve this problem better than legislation, and remember that in the not so distant future they not only have to compete with other cellphone companies, they will have mobile internet everywhere, with free VOIP. Who knows where this tec

  • I live in Lake County, California, and the whole frippin' county is in the sticks but I currently live further into the sticks than most and I'm moving to a new house that is closer to my work but even further away from the masses of residences. I just found out that it might be possible to get cable where I'm leaving, but I know damned well you can't get it (or DSL) where I'm going. That leaves dialup or satellite. Pretty much every satellite provider has been known to institute special bullshit "only for

    • by MysticOne (142751)
      If you have to go with satellite, might want to give WildBlue [wildblue.com] a shot. It's $300 for equipment, but the service is pretty good and affordable when compared to the other providers like StarBand and DirecWay. My father-in-law has it (he's in an area with no cable or DSL) and now he's able to participate on the intarweb with the rest of us.
      • by GrueMoon (990213)
        Sounds slow...and gooey.

        > now he's able to participate on the intarweb with the rest of us
    • Sattelite latency would make it useless to me-- I suppose it may be fine for web surfing or streaming audio/video, but I work from home via a VPN where telnet and remote desktop connections would be intolerably slow.

      I would like to move "way out in the sticks" myself though, as long as I can get a high-speed and low-latency internet connection.

  • by CODiNE (27417) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:22PM (#17315236) Homepage
    Sure there's the speed, that's great... but the range is key here. Ya see wirless is one of those techs where the providers have an automatic monopoly on service. Let's take the local Starbucks, the shopping mall, the airport... generally you're only going to have access to a single network in those locations. Automatic monopoly of wireless services = $40 a month service fees if you're lucky.

    Now compare this to my condo, there's generally four to eight wireless networks in range in any room of the house. Some are locked, and some are open. I have my own closed network not broadcasting it's SSID, but the point is plenty of options.

    Soon imagine a world where you go to Starbucks, the mall or the airport and you see four to eight wireless networks available. Hmmm... shall I join the local wireless business club for more than I pay for broadband at home, or shall I jump on "FreeWiMAX" instead?

    Most likely some sort of ad-supported "FreeWiMAX" network will pop up all over, also some home users, etc... with varying levels of speed and quality, but the point is the local providers have lost their monopoly of service in their areas and finally wireless charges will have to drop and they'll need to actually compete.

    WHEEEEEEE!!!
    • by mo (2873) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:34PM (#17316100)
      WiMax is regulated spectrum. IE: the FCC will not allow the average consumer to buy equipment to build towers.
      It's intended use is more as competition to both local DSL/Cable bandwidth providers, as well as competition for Cell networks.

      If whoever owns the spectrum rights for WiMax (like NextWave) decides to offer a reasonable mobile data service over WiMax then it will force Verizon et al to bring their prices down.
      Also, VoIP over WiMax could provide a compelling voice platform for competing with cell networks.
      • by mo (2873) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:49PM (#17316258)
        TFA is a bit vague, but I believe the business plan of these companies works as follows:

        1) Raise a bunch of investor capital (done)
        2) Use the capital to buy out the WiMax spectrum at auction (done)
        3) Raise more money with an IPO
        4) Use the IPO money to build a residential/business broadband service

        At this point they're competing with DSL and cable providers, but not cell networks because the coverage is still spotty. Of course, coverage doesn't matter much for residential service since your house isn't really moving. After they get a good amount of subscribers, then they can:

        5) Build out their coverage enough to compete with the Cell networks.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by haggie (957598)
          You were close. Here is the actual business plan...

          1) Raise a bunch of investor capital (done)
          2) Use the capital to buy out the WiMax spectrum at auction (done)
          3) Raise more money with an IPO
          4) Pay executives huge salaries and cash out overinflated stock options
          5) Watch company fail due to inherent technical issues
          6) Bail out just before company files bankruptcy or is acquired for peanuts
          7) Hit the beach
      • by Uggy (99326)
        There is no uniform global licensed spectrum for WiMAX. You can run WiMAX in the unlicensed spectrum. There are already companies doing it.

        WiMAX [wikipedia.org]
        • by sg3000 (87992) * <sg_public@NoSpam.mac.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @06:01PM (#17318412)
          > There is no uniform global licensed spectrum for WiMAX. You can run WiMAX in the unlicensed spectrum. There are already companies doing it.

          There are two different standards for WiMAX (from an access perspective).

          The older 16d standard (designed for fixed environments) can work in unlicensed (5.8 GHz) spectrum and licensed spectrum. The newer 16e standard is only defined for licensed spectrum (2.3, 2.5, and 3.5 GHz). The majority of the service providers will deploy 16e because it supports mobility, in addition to fixed applications.
          • by Uggy (99326)
            That is just plain not true (16e being restricted only). I would like to see your sources. WiMAX of all kinds runs on a variety of signal strengths and allocated/unallocated portions of the spectrum. And I would not call 16d "old." It's what most people are using. Every company that I've dealt with is a fixed provider and has bought 16d equipment. I don't know any mobile providers yet (they are coming, but I don't personally know of any).

            Please support your post with a reference of some sort.
            • by sg3000 (87992) *
              > That is just plain not true (16e being restricted only)

              I may have oversimplified, but let me explain. There are two components to this: the standard as defined by the IEEE, and the profiles as defined by the WiMAX Forum. The former describes the components of the MAC and PHY layers. The latter describes the frequencies, channel bandwidth, number of tones for the OFDM signal, and other parameters. The IEEE standard 802.16e-2005 is not defined for unlicensed spectrum. The profiles defined by the WiMAX Fo [wimaxforum.org]
  • Mobile, nothing... (Score:3, Informative)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:25PM (#17315264) Homepage
    ...if they can provide an last-mile Internet connectivity solution (that doesn't involve geosynchronous satellites) to rural areas, I know of at least two clients (my parents) who would not only be *very* interested in signing a contract, but who would probably put whichever company gets there first on their holiday-card list.

    For rural business locations, there's a big gap between a T1 (very expensive) and dial-up or satellite (both slow in different ways). This would make 95% of their IT issues disappear overnight. (It's amazing how many 'Net apps really don't like ping times in excess of 1000ms.)
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      What is it about dial-up that gives such bad ping times. The data is travelling over the same wire as DSL. Why should it be so slow? I remember having dial-up and trying to play Descent III over the connection. Ping times were up around 3500 MS. I understand the slow data transfer rates, but why the slow ping times?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nuzak (959558)
        > I understand the slow data transfer rates, but why the slow ping times?

        It's waiting behind all the other data. Once your link is saturated, latency goes through the roof.

        The V.whatever compression could play a factor. DSL's early signal compression was so bad that the problem was the reverse -- gamers were actually preferring dialup because the ping times were actually lower.

        • by andcal (196136)
          I was under the impression that "slow data transfer rates" was referring to dialup's number one problem, and "slow ping times" was referring to a satellite internet connection's number one problem (latency).
      • I can think of several reasons besides queueing delay:

        - error correction
        - compression
        - PPP retransmissions
        - PPP compression
        - voice data might be digitized and delayed within the telephone network

        As far as queueing goes, suppose your game uses 1500 byte packets. On an average 38400 dialup link, it takes more than 300ms to transfer just one packet. Now throw in a 10-packet queue, load it up, and see where your ping packets end up every second.
      • by operagost (62405)
        Latency is high with analog modems primarily because they're analog, and must take multiple readings of the line voltage and average the results. Otherwise, the error count would be insanely high. The error correction and compression also increase latency, because each packet must be held and analyzed.
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          But don't cable and DSL signals end up using analog signals to transfer the data? Granted it's at a vastly different frequency, which probably makes a lot of difference, but the signal travelling over the wire is always analog. Even the signals going between the internal parts of your computer are analog, such that it has to differentiate between +5 and -5 to determine what the bit value actually is.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Speaking of ping times, I'm curious how they usually fared over WiMax services. (SSH is a real pain with a high ping time.) ClearWire has started offering internet service in my area (Winston-Salem, NC), but I'm a little concerned after looking some stuff online about a) issues with cancelling accounts, especially during the "7-day free trial", unrealistic cancellation windows (60 days' notice?) and huge fees, as well as b) issues regarding bandwidth shaping and port blocking (they really don't like competi
    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:05PM (#17316518)
      My understanding of wimax (is there even a consensus on this stuff?) isnt as a last-mile solution as much as it is a wireless infrastructure. Its not going to replace home/corporate wifi but it will bring T1+ speeds between nodes without paying for the monthly t1, etc. So for rural this may be a godsend. In areas too expensive to lay down more copper or fiber it might make economic sense to use wimax like a Motorola Canopy/WISP as well as "wireless t1." Your grandpas laptop wont be able to get on wimax, but the box mounted to the side of his house can. From there he can plug in a cheapo linksys wireless router.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      In fact, in much of the USA WiMAX may be the ONLY way to get broadband Internet access over the next decade.

      The reason is simple: by "piggybacking" WiMAX transceivers on cellphone towers (which are already up in the majority of rural areas), you avoid the enormous expense of doing the so-called last mile connection to the residence or business using DSL, cable TV, or fiber optic lines. Europe, Japan and South Korea have far less of this problem because the sheer population density makes it possible to justi
  • From what I've been reading, WiMax has really good potential. Mobile WiMax (dunno how far its been standardized) ought to do fancy roaming thingies like the mobile counterparts. With far greater range than WiFi, its pretty useful for rural areas [wimaxday.net] in some countries as well.
    The more options we have for mobile and data services, the better it is for us consumers.
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:26PM (#17315298)
    Of interest (not trying to spread FUD), one of the board of directors was the man responsible for promising Baystar that Microsoft was going to invest in SCO. This was reported on GROKLAW ever so recently when people were wondering where to find this guy (forget his name... something like Davidson). Not that I expect there to be a Clearwire/Microsoft/Baystar/SCO link but thought others might find it interesting so just wanted to post it. I live in Seattle and dumped Speakeasy ever so recently and when I found this out, it was definitely left a lingering bad taste in my mouth that made me second guess my decision. As for the service, the download speeds are great, upload speeds suck. Good if you are just Joe Average surfer but bad if you are a web developer. Also, check for cellphone towers and other things like that in your vicinity as they will cause interference.
    • Also, check for cellphone towers and other things like that in your vicinity as they will cause interference.

      I would beg to differ, as Clearwire tends to mount their antennae on cellphone towers.

      • by Foofoobar (318279)
        LOL. Wel this was their customer service response to me then. Shows you that they don't even know their product. Heh.
  • by Agent Green (231202) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:27PM (#17315310)
    Granted, we've made a ton of progress in wireless over the last several years to the point where just about everyone has or has access to a wireless connection. That's great ... but this true "broadband" experience is going to require a huge amount of spectrum as more subscribers log on, or a huge number of cells in order to provide the experience.

    The article mentions the 2.5 GHz specturm. It isn't all that much different than the 2.4 we know and love today, except that the spectrum is licensed. A lot of the other transmission pitfalls will likely remain (Line-of-Sight, etc.)

    Two factors are that spectrum is inherently limited, and the higher the frequency, the more power is required to transmit over a given distance. There is already sufficient suspicion that cellular transmissions aren't good for you. I can't imagine WiMax is going to fare much better here, but that has yet to be seen.

    While I don't ever care to get WiMax ... it'll certainly make FTTH much more competitive and will perhaps drive telcos and cablecos to step up their rollouts. Rural areas without a broadband infrastructure seem to be the most likely to benefit from this WiMax phenomenon.
    • by hibachi (162898) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:13PM (#17315876)
      I manage network operations for a large ISP in northern Canada and we use the same technology as Clearwire (not WiMAX - it is sort of a proto-WiMAX) for providing high speed Internet service. This technology is non-line-of-sight. I am not talking pseudo, I am talking the full meal deal. The technology actually depends on multipath reflection off of various surfaces, and this is what allows it to be NLOS. The fact that the frequency used is licensed means that they can be given additional power, which enhances signal reflectivity, and NLOS reception.

      We are in a fairly large city in northern Canada, and there is nowhere in town we fail to receive a signal, from a fairly small number of cells located around town. As an old-school dial-up ISP without access to cable or copper infrastructure, NLOS high speed wireless was our holy grail, and this technology delivered. The stuff is black magic, it is something to behold.
      • What company's products are you using?

        I've seen penty of companies promising this sort of thing, but in the frequency we're using we're fairly limited as to distance (NLOS is a relaity only within 1 km of base station). ETSI says 1 watt max, we use 1 watt. If we could do 10 watts, I'd imagine we'd see something more interesting (it would be nice)..

        You're using the 2.5 ghz frequency, right?

      • The stuff is black magic, it is something to behold.
        I remember once asking my Dad how did radio work... really how does it work... and the satellite engineers response... "white mans magic son, nobody knows." ;)
    • There is already sufficient suspicion that cellular transmissions aren't good for you.

      I'd aggree if you said sufficient hysteria, but I don't think anyone has shown that it causes any real injury. There was a major Dutch (IIRC anyway) study released last month that found no such injury.

    • The article mentions the 2.5 GHz specturm. It isn't all that much different than the 2.4 we know and love today, except that the spectrum is licensed.

      Yah, but with a license it's likely that devices and access points can transmit at higher powers. That can provide either higher bits/second, or longer distances. Also, does the WiMax standard provide for a larger spectrum allocation than the WiFi does? I don't know, but if it does that would certainly be a boost to available bandwidth.

      There is already suff
    • It'd be nice to have, say, 1900-2400mhz available as a common wireless spectrum usable for phones, data, whatever. As you point out, there are physical limitations and opening yet another narrow spectrum entry, filling it with providers who oversell capacity only invites a lather, rinse, repeat cycle of more spectrum, more overselling.

      Worse is the mobile devices which are either made deliberately hardware incompatible or take a long time to become available in multiband configurations. It would be nice to
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There was a recent article in IEEE Spectrum that the reason companies are pushing WiMax instead of Wifi is that the spectrum is licensed -- its not free like wifi. Sorry I can't find a link. So we can't just buy WiMax access points and transmit. Its controlled by the companies who hold the license.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX#Deployment [wikipedia.org]

      Look near the bottom for the companies who hold the license for each country.

      The article goes on to say that there is nothing special about WiMax that allows it much
    • Wow. What a lot of unnecessarily negative comments to make. I say that because it's not like there's anything that strings them together except that they're negative. 2.5GHz requires more power! Sufficient suspicion that cellular transmissions aren't good for you! This'll require a "huge" amount of spectrum!

      Let's deal with them one by one:

      1. 2.5GHz isn't ideal, but it's fine for NLOS, almost as good as regular PCS (think about it, it's only 25% higher in frequency.) For Line-of-Sight, it's no problem a

    • I'm no expert, but there is another shortcoming in WiMAX. The college I went to did a mini-pilot for WiMAX on campus, but ran into a big problem with it. The WiMAX signal couldn't penetrate the walls of some of the very old stone buildings that are all over campus. In order for WiMAX to work, they would need some kind of hybrid infrastructure of WiMAX and traditional WiFi so that a wireless internet connection could be picked up from any building on campus. I'm not sure if this problem has really been a
    • by sg3000 (87992) *
      > It isn't all that much different than the 2.4 we know and love today, except that the spectrum is licensed. A lot of the other transmission pitfalls
      > will likely remain (Line-of-Sight, etc.)

      The major difference is that the output power levels at 2.4 GHz is significantly limited. The power is limited to 30 dBm (1W) for 2.4 GHz, but there is no such limitation at 2.5 GHz (since it's licensed spectrum), so a single base station can put out 1500 W (EiRP), like what you see with 3G mobile technologies.

      Co
    • The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people

      This is a huge myth, nothing more. Photons don't take up any space, so there is effectively no limit.

      The current "limits" are mostly because we make extremely poor use of wireless transmissions. Devices have no good way of weeding out signals not for them, so the only option is to limit interference. As phased array antennas and other techniques become more common, we can make much better use of the spectrum. Low power, wide band, directional transmissions, with fine meshes will allow the network to sc

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:28PM (#17315320) Homepage Journal
    The reason why they're pushing WiMax is they can charge us more for that than they can for free Wifi, and it's all about the greenbacks, not the tech.
  • Yes Please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:29PM (#17315324)
    Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?

    God I hope so, we all know how pitiful the state of broadband is in the US...DSL is cramped(it's a twisted pair of two copper wires) and the cable companies are acting like the greedy pigs they are(expensive, anti-upstream, abusive).

    The consumer is desperate for an alternative. Without competition we might as well be living in Communist Russia. Just look at AMD vs. Intel, or nVidia vs. ATI....that is how innovation happens.

    This is something we've been waiting for for far too long. Broadband is probably the single-most important innovation of the last 10 years, and it's also one of the most stagnant(especially in the US). We desperately need a new competitor in this market.
  • In a word..... Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @02:44PM (#17315520)
    Rogers and Bell [www.bell.ca] in Canada have WiMAX services using OFDM Non-Line-of-Sight NLOS wireless service. The modem is a (RSU-2510-FV) NextNet Expedience Broadband Wireless Modem which you have to rent (can't find anywhere to buy one) from either carrier. I've tried it and it works well.

    The reason why this *MAY* pan out for these companies is that even in major urban areas in Canada, you have problems getting xDSL because you're too far away from a CO and they haven't dropped a RDSLAM [dslreports.com] in your subdivision. However, the above services are available up to 5KM or so in any direction from a broadcast tower. I also suspect it's cheaper for telcos to deploy, plus they get the revenue from the modem rental.
    • Strange that you couldn't find one to buy, when I signed up with Rogers, there was no rental option. I had to buy the modem.

      I'm using the "Rogers portable internet" service as we speak (write) and I have nothing but praise for it. Speed is acceptable for what I need, and the whole signup and install could not have been easier. Really. walked to the Rogers store, 2 plugs on the back of the thing, ipconfig /renew and there it was.

  • ... and some other countries too. It does work quite well in circumstances where ADSL can't/won't go. The experience of users in the "campo" (countryside) varies as some nodes can get choked - where capacity hasn't kept up with demand. As others have pointed out, its success depends totally on getting the price and investment right.
    • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:08PM (#17316584) Journal
      Spain's experience is not necessarily transferrable to other countries. For example, the United States. 36 of the states have a lower population density than Spain, and seven of them have a population density less than a tenth of Spain's. In fact, the average population density in the US is less than that of Spain. Thus people are spread further apart. Or to put it another way, there is a lot more distance between one person and the next. Just because people in the Spanish countryside are within range, does not mean that people in, say, the Texas countryside will be in range.
  • throttling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zheng Yi Quan (984645) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:14PM (#17315882)
    From the demo unit we got from Clearwire, it was clear (ahem) that everything besides port 80 was severely throttled down. Web surfing? Fine. IMAP, SFTP, etc.? Too bad, can't.
  • ...is what happens during a nice, juicy rain or thunderstorm? Eh?
    • by karikas (785024)
      As a new customer of Clearwire (I just signed up for their services in Seattle a month ago, one year contract but month-to-month was available) I have to say that I've been very happy with the performance, though the speed leaves a bit to be desired. My upload rate is about 250kbps on a good day, which falls within their promised 256kbps upload speed (so I shouldn't be surprised). The 1.5Mbps download rate comes down at 1.6 or 1.7 at times, so that's a lovely thing.

      Why did I choose them? Cost really, I

    • by Kymation (948416)
      I'm using it in western Washington state, where it rains a lot, and the rain doesn't seem to have much of an effect. The lightning strike on the tower, however, knocked it out for two days. That makes the overall reliability about the same as the local DSL providers.
  • WiMAX in Toronto (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm already on WiMAX with Rogers in Toronto for the last 3 months (disclaimer: I don't work for Rogers and lately I've been starting to hate their guts [bad customer service, nothing to do with WiMAX]).
    They market it as Internet Portable and it covers the entire city + some of the Greater Toronto Area. Basically, all you need is a power outlet to power the modem and there, you have internet access. I'm fortunate to live in a house pretty tall, so even though I'm in a valley, I can still get full reception.
    T
    • by Maurice (114520)

      I use Bell WiMAX in Montreal. I think Bell and Rogers have a joint venture for this service in Canada actually. I subscribed for a 3 Mbit/s service and I have to say even though cable modem and DSL are supposed to be faster in theory, the WiMAX is the fastest home connection I've ever had. It could be that it is not very popular yet so they have lots of free bandwidth floating around, in addition to it being a dedicated frequency. Also, I have had no service outages for the 3 months I've had this connection
  • by SeaSolder (979866) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:33PM (#17316086) Journal
    As the subject line points out, I am a subscriber of Clearwire. Right now, they are not broadcasting "WiMAX" in my market. Portland Oregon is the only market they are broadcasting "True WiMAX". Everywhere else it's a pre-standard roll out. The only major difference is that in pre-WiMAX, there is no protocol for handing off from one tower to another. With the WiMAX standard, the hand-off is guaranteed to function seamlessly while you are traveling 60 MPH. In demonstrations, they have been able to show that it works up on to the 100's of MPH. (On Japanese bullet trains.) So, I've been using it for the past two months, and I feel I am in a good place to describe the level of service. Setup: I actually had an account representative come out to my house to check signal strength, and help me set up the service. In reality, the service is ready to go out of the box. You literally plug the modem into a power outlet, and into your router / computer, and everything sets up automatically. When you buy the service in the store, you fill in your details right there, so by the time you get your modem home, the service is all ready to go. Speed: I opted for the 1.5 mbps service, and frankly, I feel it is faster than my Crap-cast cable service, even though they advertise "UP TO 12mbps.) With Clearwire, they advertise 1.5, and you get 1.5, period. There is very low latency in the system. Service: When I signed up, I was given 3 ways to contact Clearwire. The 800 number, through the website, and the cellphone number of my account rep. If I need anything, he takes care of me. The reliability is awesome. I'm in Seattle, and if any of you saw the news reports, we had a massive windstorm last week. 100 MPH gusts, and thousands of people are still without power. My Clearwire connection never dropped. A lot of cable subscribers are still out... Other than that, I only experienced 1 service outage, that lasted for 15 mins. Portability: This is both good and bad. If I want to drag the modem around with me (7 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 1 inch thick) I can use the service all over the area. Newer versions are supposed to be PC card size, but I'm not really sure that I want to have a 4 watt transmitter sitting right next to my tadpoles. I love the service, and I just hope that they are able to continue providing the level of service that I have come to expect.
  • I can't wait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic (994046)

    I have been eagerly waiting for WiMAX to come out for some time now; I think that this technology would be revolutionary to even the typical Joe RAZR.

    As one poster already mentioned, wireless internet can be costly (even though some cellular companies are driving this down; last time I checked, T-Mobile has the full package for $20 a month). WiMAX would make revolutionary inroads to mobile connectivity, as well as better mobile devices in the long run. I think that if this technology flourishes, we should

  • Japan has 100mbps synchronous connections but yet I have to suffer through Comcast commercials telling me that 6mbps is "blazingly fast" (and we cap uloads at 768k btw)...

    This is, honestly, bullshit.. the telecom and cable companies don't want to offer real services that compete globally.. they want to nickel and dime us for every megabit.. i can't wait for ANY type of competition.
  • My first question: Do these companies that are (IPO'ing and) betting on WiMax have good business models? Would they be a good bet for my own bet on WiMax?
  • We have allready wireless last mile access using 3G networks like UMTS, the service i currently use supports till 3.6Mbit which is really similar to a entry level DSL line, but this is not going to be comparable to DSL services in town for a lot of reasons.

    First of all is "mobile", and telco's are used to make the user pay for this "extra" feature, and, it's unstable, latency is greater than cable and latency/jitter is the real user percerption of speed when surfing with a browser or using voip.

    So, really,
  • I am an Australian currently in Brussels, Belgium for a little while. When I wwas looking for internet connection options, Clearwire was really the only choice. I don't want/have a landline, just a mobile phone. The only other option was DSL. So apparently it can take up to 3 weeks to get the telephone company here to hook you up with a line, then I have to pay monthly line rental, then it can take another 2 to 3 weeks to get the DSL connected.

    or

    I walked into the local Clearwire store, paid the connecti
    • by oliderid (710055)
      I live in Brussels and I did exactly the same thing. Clearwire is pretty easy to set up. All in all in costs less than a phone line fee + internet subscription. I've got a mobile phone and I don't need a landline. I even share it with my neighboors (a friend of mine). we simply use a WI-FI router. We both work all day long and Internet at home is used sporadically for e-banking and other things like that. Rarely for entertainment. So it costs me less than $US 14 per month.

  • What's to keep people from simply connecting to each other with this technology and eventually growing into one monsterous spaghetti tangle of an end-user driven wireless internet? It would seem to cut out the commercial overlords as well as intrusive goverment oversight and regulation. Did 'they' screw up and let the cat out of the bag on this one, thus enabling a free for all, unregulated new internet to emerge? A quick perusal of some equipment vendors shows that at least some products are available i
  • I work with SkyPilot Networks (www.skypilot.com) hardware and have a wireless mesh network set up with 30+ nodes that I am managing. I was getting 5.8Mbps of throughput even when I was a couple of hops away from the gateway according to iperf! That's not bad at all! I think that all of this WiMAX stuff is very exciting, and I even wrote a short paper concerning future development which can be found at http://www.duke.edu/~jyw2/spectrum.html [duke.edu]
  • HSPDA: 1.8 Mbit/s or 3.6 Mbit/s in downlink. Further steps to 14.4 Mbit/s 3G: 384kbps for mobile systems and 2Mbps for stationary WiBro: 30 to 50 Mbit/s and cover a radius of 1-5 km WiMax Fixed 802.16d: 10Mbps (10km rural, 2km Urban). Several more to boot. Interesting.
  • PreacherTom [google.com] is an astroturfer for BusinessWeek magazine. Look at the URL in this recent Slashdot story [slashdot.org] and notice the campaign_id string. Now look at his user page [slashdot.org]. Scroll down to the submissions section. Notice how almost every one is a link to a BusinessWeek.com article containing the campaign_id string. Now look at the search results [google.com] for "campaign_id preachertom". He's been pulling this shit on slashdot, digg, Fark, MetaFilter, and who knows where else. Check out this MetaTalk thread [metafilter.com] for the initial disc

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