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Wireless Networking Communications Hardware Technology

Why Clearwire's 4G Network Plan Is No Slam Dunk 66

alphadogg sends this NetworkWorld story discussing the obstacles Clearwire will have to overcome to succeed, which begins: "Clearwire recently announced the completion of its Sprint Nextel transaction and the formation of the new Clearwire Corp. In addition, it received $3.2 billion from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks. As expected, Clearwire's conference call emphasized all the positive aspects of the deal. Namely, it owns lots of spectrum, is building an all-IP network that is 'open,' and will use fourth-generation (4G) mobile WiMAX technology (IEEE 802.16e). I'd love to see a nationwide 4G mobile network, but let's be clear about some of the challenges facing Clearwire, including cost, device and competitive ones."
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Why Clearwire's 4G Network Plan Is No Slam Dunk

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  • already a 4G, is it such a trendy term now that the G(eneration) gets thrown around everywhere.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by afidel ( 530433 )
      Yes, going from ~1-3Mbps to 20-40Mbps DOES justify getting labeled as a next generation service! Heck if they have decent enough coverage this will be a huge deal for us. We currently have a few 3G routers that we sendout whenever we open a new field office with no notice or where a sites internet service is down with no ETA for repair, having upload speeds in excess of 1Mbps will mean we could use it even for our large offices.
      • by Dgawld ( 1251898 )
        1-3mbps, im pretty sure my verizon wireless internet has hit up to 7mbps
        • which is less than 20-40

        • by afidel ( 530433 )
          Nope, Verizon is Rev.A currently and it maxes at 3.1/1.8 with real world speeds being in the 1-2Mbit/500kbit upload range. Unless they are field testing Rev.B somewhere and haven't released ANY press about it I think you must have been fooled by the lying download calculator =) The DSL Reports speedtests bear that out too, I just checked and the top speed listed for is 2.3m/796
      • Yes, going from ~1-3Mbps to 20-40Mbps DOES justify getting labeled as a next generation service!

        Sure does, but as a former customer of their service let me remind everyone of 'dead-spots' which might not be a problem for a mobile phone. You can walk down the block, but when you use clearwire for your home pc.. and you just happen to be in a dead spot... or a spot that isn't dead, but cuts your bandwidth in half, or ups your latency 3sec+. You are SOL with that company... Just something to remember.

    • The generations are pretty well-defined. Take a look at the bar on the right of this page []. 4G has bandwidth and latency requirements and a few other requirements. The big one for most geeks is that a 4G network is all-IP.
  • My business that i've built from the ground up offers $20 internet, $20 Phone, and $20 TV over a fixed base wireless connection at a customer's place of residence. I've built the entire business from the ground up on open source technologies and at 25MB down/ 5MB up, unlimited phone, low latency links, and dirt cheap television, I really don't feel that i have any competition. So maybe by the time "Clearwire" is actually beginning to do something, I'll take my 802.11/802.16 network and slap a billion dollar

    • Website?
    • Aww, how cute. A little fish trying to swim with the big boys. I'm sure you may do well in your little corner of the world... but dont expect 3.2 billion dollar infusions any time soon. ^_^
    • Does your company have a website? Link? Sounds fictional... .

      • [] - The site (and the company) is in beta, used mostly for internal stuff right now, and I don't officially launch until April 1st and thats no joke. I already have nearly a thousand customers, and i'm still working out the bugs. Hopefully I can find some CCIE-ish guys that understand Debian based routers like I do before launch because I already sleep 6-8 hours a day and work the other 16 all week long.

  • by Björn ( 4836 ) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @05:07AM (#26011779)
    ComputerWorld has a good article [] comparing the two competing technologies.

    The NetworkWorld article mentions that according to ClearWire, LTE will be out in 2011, but according to Telenor they will have in operation by 2010. The claims of both sides should of cause be taken with a grain of salt.

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      WiMax mobile adapters should be out by ~Q2'09 barring everyone deciding not to develop chips due to the economy. LTE first generation chips will be late 2010 even under optimistic predictions. The big problem is there is no credit, and won't be any in the near future, for big risky projects like 4G networks so I'm not holding my breath for either technology.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Björn ( 4836 )

        LTE first generation chips will be late 2010 even under optimistic predictions.

        Really? There is supposed exists pre-production versions of Ericsson's M700 platform for LTE during 2008. Ericsson mobile platforms are of cause used by phones from SonyEricsson. The M700 will be in full production during 2009, and products based on it should be out during 2010. At least that is what have read.

        Not just the Norwegian Telenor, but the Swedish & Finnish telco Teliasonera are rolling out LTE in 2010. One of the driving factors is that LTE is more cost-efficient that turbo-3G.

  • by Neorith ( 1425191 ) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @05:31AM (#26011837)
    I am a proud Clearwire partner, and I am lucky to be able to observe the team we have on site working on our WiMAX testing and technical support. They are a very dedicated group of individuals who work tirelessly, and directly with our test market customers. The progress they have made in such a short time has been very encouraging. The last paragraph of the article stated that "Clearwire has completed an important first step and has partnered with blue chip investors. But the company is embarking on a long journey with very significant challenges. It is going to be fun to see what happens". Well, for me personally, it has been pretty fun to watch this team take on these significant challenges head on and come up with creative solutions for them. We are already getting great speeds on this new system, and I believe we will be able to roll out this network more efficiently then the article would have you believe. It will be a long journey, but it will be worth it. I believe this company will be very successful because they care about their employees enough to let them go out of their way to satisfy the customer with almost any issue they have, even if its not supported by us personally. This makes us a great company that customers can trust and rely on. I know I could never get that level of support from my ISP, who outsource, and therefore I can barely understand. (I don't live in a Clearwire market...yet). Clearwire lets me have the freedom to try and resolve most of our customer's network problems, and because of that, we have customers who can trust us and count on us. This new WiMAX deployment will be a great challenge, but with the level of dedication that these people have put into this idea, I believe we will succeed. You may think I am biased because I work for them, but you would be mistaken. I have my own concerns and issues about Clearwire. This job burns me out a lot, but I still love working for them. The article says that "Clearwire's 4G network plan is no slam dunk". Well, most new technologies are never slam dunks immediately, but with the dedication of our teams, I don't see why a three point shot would be out of the question. Hey, I'm just a fly on the wall watching this team work. With the level of dedication I have personally observed, I believe we will succeed.
    • by drspliff ( 652992 ) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @05:34AM (#26011849)

      I think you forgot to sign your post with:

      - Clearwire Marketing Droid

      • Nah, marketing droids know about paragraphs.
    • It seems Clearwire might be a tentative venture just from the quick read I gave the article. If I invested in tech stocks in my portfolio, it might be worth buying a few shares and letting them sit for awhile to see what happens, never know.
      • Well, from what I have been observing, our teams and managers have been working overtime to get this project rolling and I have very high expectations for next year. I have been at this company for a while and I believe we are building something great here.
    • Do you know if they are hopefully going to address encryption in the newer stuff? See []
    • Call me cynical, but get back to us on "great service" when you're no longer an early adopter test-case but just another of thousands of customers. Sure Clearwire is working hard to make it work for you--that's what always happens a first. They want to use you to get the bug out of their system, so of course they're on top of things and "working hard for you"

      In about three years when Clearwire has thousands of customers, try to get customer service . Given past experience, I'm pretty confident their service

    • I wish you well. I live in rural Northern California (Shasta County, near Redding) and we were delighted to get ClearWire and off dial up. I hope you bring us 4G as well.

      No kidding. I sincerely mean each and every word of the first paragraph.

      However, CLWR is far from a "great company that customers can trust and rely on".

      Your help desk people... they are pleasant enough and obviously native english speakers. However, they apparently don't know squat about networking (apart from windoze configurations)

    • Here, let me summarize that giant run-on paragraph for you into Marketing-speak:

      Clearwire: Because hard work is its own reward. Our investors and partners are only impressed with our hard work. (Not accomplishing things that make money.)

      Learn to hit return/enter once in a while, try out that cute little "Preview" button if you're unsure, and slow down a bit. The speed at which you posted that obviously affected the QUALITY of your work. Hope you're not doing the same thing at the office. Lay off the Re

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if this technology, once widely deployed and used by lots of people at the same time, will have the latency to compete with cable and DSL. Not bandwidth, latency. Cable used to be pretty bad in the latency department, but has improved over time. DSL historically is pretty good in the latency department.

    If WiMax's latency is too high for people to play their networked, this would be a major strike against it.

    • No doubt the latency would be higher than DSL. But it is not designed or (i hope) marketed as a DSL replacement/competitor. Its for mobile internet access.
  • Clearwire has lots of problems..

    a. they are teaming with Sprint. Sprint?! Sprint is a sinking ship

    b. Comcast & Time Warner? blood sucking shithole companies whose employees I hope choke on their own vomit. Nothing good can come from their involvement. Roberts can go fuck himself in particular.

    Furthermore, what is the supposed advantage of WiMax over LTE in the mobile comunications space? It sucks without LOS. When moving the performance is dismal. It's not the long term plan for the vast majo

  • "murky"-water (Score:2, Informative)

    by Afforess ( 1310263 )
    Although this sounds good, it will still have the same drawbacks as the current 3g network. Currently, every ISP of the 3g networks throttles your connection after 5gb (a month). A faster speed just means I use up my limit even faster.
  • Monopoly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday December 06, 2008 @10:43AM (#26012873) Homepage Journal

    This new network will be a monopoly, even more than the current mobile telco monopolies (lockin). At least on the current mobile networks you can roam on a different network, even though each network can use its monopoly of access to it to set prices and policies arbitrarily expensive and restrictive. For comparison, see the Internet backbones, which are comparatively cheap and open (even though the telcos/cablecos are increasingly coordinated in a cartel, abusing openness and fixing prices).

    Of course the first of anything gets to be a monopoly, especially when there's no "photo finish" race among competitors to be first. And the early adopters will pay whatever cost is required. That monopoly might even be necessary and acceptable for a while. But the incumbent mobile telcos have shown that the monopoly lasts forever, even if there are competing corporations (each with their own monopoly).

    These networks are all courtesy of the public, especially the mobile ones that lease the public airwaves. Those leases should include a public/private benefit formula that accounts for investment and risk by the spectrum developer, allowing monopoly control long enough to protect profit enough that investors are encouraged to go for the gold. But once some range of motivating profit is achieved, equal access and price anti-gouging rules should protect the public from the monopoly, protect the market from the monopoly crushing any competition entering. Perhaps the lease price should include a refundable deposit that reverts to the spectrum developer once competition is achieved, and is used to fund competitive entrants (under equal access and price protections) if the way the developer runs it doesn't allow competition soon enough.

    Make the incentives and protections for competition match the environment, and the market will run properly. Otherwise, we're just going to pay retail for a fourth generation of the telco monopoly that interferes with all our other development, exploiting public property for a very narrow private gain.

    • Whereas I don't disagree with your ideas about a monopoly, I don't see a monopoly here. This service competes with any manner of Internet service, so it competes with Cable Modem, DSL from phone lines, Satellite Internet, and Cellular phone data services. Not to mention, there is more spectrum for another company to make another wireless variant. Clearwire is not free to price gouge, as the bulk of people will just get DSL or Cable modem instead.
      • If you want a 4G network, there is no competition. That is a monopoly. It's like if the only broadband were AT&T, but somehow 56Kbps dialup meant AT&T's broadband weren't a monopoly. If some other competitor rolled out a 4G network, that might represent a different kind of monopoly, a duopoly. And if those two 4G competitors locked out the other network from their subscribed equipment, that would be a lockin monopoly just as the current Sprint/Verizon/T-Mobile/etc each are.

        To see the difference, loo

  • I was visited by 2 representatives of the company, encouraging me to switch to their service. They offered a demo of its speed. They hooked it up and I got 5 bars. I am on a second floor with a clear line of sight to a cell tower about 300 yards away, so no surprise. However, they were gobsmacked at this 'linux' thing I ran on my computer. They didn't know what it was or if Clearwire would work with my system. I did a few pings and direct ip addresses, hoping to see if it would work. No go. All in all
  • by Miros ( 734652 ) * on Saturday December 06, 2008 @01:08PM (#26013773)

    I remember when the first WiMax technical specifications were published back in like, 2006. I read them as part of a research project associated with a securities firm to help compile research on the companies involved. Even back then, the prospect of having a broadband network operational at least two to three years in the future with deployments probably (at least, hopefully for the wimax people) continuing for at least five, that could only pump 10MB at a 10kM range seemed absurd. This is a system that at its unrealistic ideal pushes sub-ethernet levels of connectivity.

    I know it's a mobile network, and at that, it's very very impressive compared to a lot of what's out there. But honestly the only reason to build a network this large is the hope that you will capture at home users and compete with traditional broadband services (which they fully hope to do in metro areas). How can WiMax possibly hope to compete in those settings against GPON and DOCSIS 3.0/4? Does anyone else think that this has already been cornered by the competition into a niche before it even gets off of the drawing board?

  • This comment:

    I'd love to see a nationwide 4G mobile network, but let's be clear about some of the challenges facing Clearwire, including cost, device and competitive ones.

    portrays some of my thinking, but the bigger problem I have with Clearwire is its terrible service. They have (or, at least a year ago, had) silent bandwidth caps and usage policies so draconian that they make cable companies look friendly by comparison. I wrote about my experience here [].

    Part of the impetus for buying Clearwire's servi

  • We are GSM. All your base are belong to us.
  • Everyone seems to be talking about WiMax and Clearwire supposedly sucking as a mobile wireless carrier/connection. I can't say I disagree with that assessment, except the problem here is... it is not being established [at least for the time being] as a mobile wireless company, at least in the same manner in one regards his cell phone.

    Yes, you can take the modem with you to various locations, but it is not intended to be used while mobile. Yes, it has PC cards, but trying to use it while driving down th

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington