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Companies Betting on WiMAX

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the takin-it-to-the-max dept.

Wireless Networking 106

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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106 comments

WiMAX? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315150)

Don't want that one!

Oh wait... Thought we were still talking about Little Britain & the BBC...

Re:WiMAX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315394)

Slow Down Cowboy!
Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.
It's been 5 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment


Wanted to gloat about my first post, but computer says no...

some perspective (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315160)

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.

Re:some perspective (4, Insightful)

bbsguru (586178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315644)

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.

Re:some perspective (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322360)

"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 penny out if this technology before making it ubiquitous.

Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (4, Insightful)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (2, Interesting)

Infinivert (1042166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316060)

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

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

technoid_ (136914) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317264)

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's service, I used the connection inside the civic center during the Key City hamfest and it worked great there and the portability made it possible for us to have any net connection.

technoid_

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17317532)

That's it! My only personal experience with Clearwire and Xanadoo has been in coffee shops. Mezamiz offers free 802.11 via Clearwire, and Monks (downtown) offers the same via Xanadoo. Both have seemed to cut in and out for no obvious reason. Some of that may be their in-house equipment.

A couple friends of mine use Clearwire, though, and have reported varying levels of connectivity based on location... much like a cell phone.

--Josh

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317374)

"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.

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

jerkface.us (1022871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17320452)

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.

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (4, Informative)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316236)

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:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (2, Interesting)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317092)

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.

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317164)

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:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (2, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317648)

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?

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317756)

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:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (2, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317890)

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?

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318000)

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...

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (1)

Gablar (971731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321276)

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 technology will lead, but I'm liking it.

Re:Price, Performance and CONTRACT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17316538)

T-mobile sidekick. $30/mo with a 1 year contract and no phone service required. $49.99/mo for wireless data services to a PCMCIA card.

I don't consider that expensive or carrying a bulky contract. YMMV.

Wombats (0, Offtopic)

fittekuk (1033554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315180)

Has anyone considered the effect of Wombats on the signal? With the ever increasing number of Wombats in our urban centers, surely they will cause interference with the signal. I, for one, would not invest in either of these companies until this is researched and properly documented. After all, who wants to be walking in the park and have their connection go down everytime a wombat goes by?

Re:Wombats (0)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315312)

Ok, did I miss something? Are you speaking of actual wombats here? Or is this some new geek-tastic term I have yet to learn? And for the record, as of this post, "wombat" on wikipedia only returns results for the mammal.

Re:Wombats (0)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315396)

I think I have to turn in my geek card. When he first said it I thought he was talking about mynocks from Empire Strikes Back. Shame on me for forgetting the name. I had to look it up.

/hangs head in shame

Not to worry... (2, Funny)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315442)

My patented 'Wombat Wimax Relay Backpacks' will take care of this problem and our 'Wombat Relocation Program'(TM) will insure there are plenty of Wombats for the other six continents. We are still working on getting them to come out during daylight hours but our patented 'Ultra Female Wombat Estrus Scent' is showing great promise.

Re:Wombats (3, Funny)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315648)

You may notice by my username that I anticipated this threat years in advance. I have intended all along to make my fortune by providing wombat-neutralisation services to the fledgling WiMAX industry.

Wimax radiation... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315210)

...will turn us into a giant batch of guinea pigs - cancers and all!

I pray that it is... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315212)

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 you" caps on their subscribers that actually use the connection they're paying for.

The only downside to WiMax is that it will probably come to my town last, and by then I will have spent $600 on satellite hardware :P

Re:I pray that it is... (1)

MysticOne (142751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315416)

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.

Re:I pray that it is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315616)

Wildblue is not an option in Lake County right now unfortunately. The spot beams are full.


Maybe when the new WB1 satellite is operational in a few months.


Don't hold your breath for WiMax, what is the betting these companies will be fighting over the same city dwellers as DSL, Cable. Rural America will be ignored as usual.


Satellite is about it in Lake County, I live there too. No cell phone service at my house, no cable, no DSL. I have HughesNet for my house and RV, lets me work anywhere.

Re:I pray that it is... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316708)

Hughes is the company I looked at most seriously. Looked like a hundred bucks a month for a decent level of service. How have they treated you so far? How much does it cost to get an auto-aiming dish for your RV, or are you manually aiming?

Re:I pray that it is... (1)

GrueMoon (990213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315690)

Sounds slow...and gooey.

> now he's able to participate on the intarweb with the rest of us

Re:I pray that it is... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316134)

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.

Why WiMAX will be awesome... (4, Interesting)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315236)

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!!!

that's not exactly how it works (4, Informative)

mo (2873) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

a bit more information (4, Informative)

mo (2873) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:a bit more information (2, Interesting)

haggie (957598) | more than 6 years ago | (#17319442)

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

Re:that's not exactly how it works (1)

Uggy (99326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317562)

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]

Re:that's not exactly how it works (3, Informative)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:that's not exactly how it works (1)

Uggy (99326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321356)

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.

Re:that's not exactly how it works (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321632)

> 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 Forum [wimaxforum.org] are defined by the Mobile Task Group (MTG), and there are several major profiles:

  * 1A: 2300 - 2400 MHz, 8.75 MHz channels (otherwise known as the WiBro profile)
  * 1B: 2300-2400 MHz, 5/10 MHz channels
  * 2A/B/C: 2305-2360 (corresponding to the WCS spectrum in the US), 3.5/5/10 MHz channels
  * 3A: 2496-2690 MHz, 5/10 MHz
  * 4A/B/C: 3300-3400 MHz with 5/7/10 MHz channel bandwidths
  * 5A/B/CL: 3400-3600 MHz with 5/7/10 MHz channels
  * 5A/B/CH: 3600-3800 MHz with 5/7/10 MHz channels

In the U.S. 2.3 and 2.5 GHz are defined as allocated spectrum (similar for Canada, except with the addition of 2.5 GHz). However, for the last one, this does encompass the 3650 MHz license exempt range in the U.S., but because of the way the FCC defined the rules, it isn't clear how existing 3.5 GHz 16e equipment being sold for licensed spectrum in Canada and Europe will be adapted to the frequency.

> And I would not call 16d "old." It's what most people are using.

16d (or to use its formal name IEEE 802.16d-2004) was ratified in 2004, while the 16e (IEEE 802.16e-2005) standard was ratified in 2005. So it is correct to call 16d the older standard. 16e offers many improvements over 16d, including the ability to scale the number of OFDM tones with the channel bandwidth, support for turbo coding to improve the link budget, and significantly improved authentication methods.

> 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).

You're correct that in terms of deployed WiMAX today, it's all 16d equipment; 16e equipment is still in the market trial stage, happening all over the world. It is expected that starting in 2007, 16e deployments will dwarf 16d deployments, with 16e growing to 10x the size of 16d. Almost all 16d equipment vendors are announcing plans to try to convert their equipment to 16e, since that's the direction the market is going. The major wireless infrastructure vendors who are doing WiMAX (Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Nortel, Nokia Siemens, etc) are all adopting 16e. This is because the major holders of spectrum in North America are planning on moving to 16e, with the largest being Sprint Nextel [sprint.com]. Similarly, note that BellSouth [alcatel.com] is testing 16e as well. The consensus in the industry is that 16e will be the basis for broadband wireless access, with 16d (as well as the proprietary variants) relegated to niche deployments or going away.

Mobile, nothing... (2, Informative)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315264)

...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.)

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315862)

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:Mobile, nothing... (2, Informative)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316112)

> 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.

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

andcal (196136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318850)

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).

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316452)

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.

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318096)

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.

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17323966)

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.

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315962)

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 competing VOIP services, apparently! and take a dim view of BitTorrent...)

Re:Mobile, nothing... (3, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Mobile, nothing... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321426)

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 justify the enormous expense of hardwiring every home and business for landline-based broadband.

This is really nice (1)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315270)

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.

Clearwire/Baystar Link (2, Informative)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Clearwire/Baystar Link (1)

Dark_Gravity (872049) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318118)

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.

Re:Clearwire/Baystar Link (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#17319134)

LOL. Wel this was their customer service response to me then. Shows you that they don't even know their product. Heh.

The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people. (4, Interesting)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (5, Interesting)

hibachi (162898) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17323130)

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?

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315946)

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.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (2, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316050)


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 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.

In fact it's exactly the opposite. There's a lot of evidence that cellular transmissions have no harmful effect at all. There was at least one study done in Finland that was discussed on Slashdot not long ago.

Any way to re-org the spectrum? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316200)

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 have a single band which would make devices more portable (barring encoding differences) and make the radio costs cheaper through fewer designs and less complexity.

 

Not only that, its not free. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17316276)

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 further coverage than wifi. Wifi could do the same thing, but then companies can't make money off of it.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316550)

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 at all, as the antenna you're using would be external anyway. Frequencies in the 3.5GHz are already being used for that.

2. The phrase "sufficient suspicion" has to be one of the most misleading, anti-scientific, phrases I've heard since "Intelligent design". It's taking the valid phhrase "sufficient evidence" (which would indeed be worrying, but that doesn't exist) and replacing the word "evidence" with "suspicion" because there isn't any evidence. It's intellectually dishonest.

3. There is a huge amount of spectrum being licensed, and it's getting bigger every few years. In addition to cellular and PCS, we've just had the AWS spectrum in the US, and the 2.5GHz range is being made available. Other frequency bands are also coming online. In addition to more efficient protocols by WISPS (including modern 3G cellphone carriers, do not forget about them), operators of cellular networks of all descriptions (AMPS/CDMA2000, GSM/UMTS, WiMAX, UMTS-TDD, etc) are putting up more and more towers, breaking up the available area into smaller and smaller areas.

The UMTS LTE project is expecting to finalise new UMTS air interface protocols based on OFDMA and MIMO that'll increase the downlink to about 100Mbps per tower per 20MHz of spectrum, by the end of 2007. It's not hard to see with microcellular coverage in cities and lower population density outside of cities coupled with towers often as little as two or three miles apart, that's a lot of capacity for a single carrier to have.

Will it keep up with wireline? Probably not, but most of us are happy with our 1.5Mbps DSL connections right now...

I think WiMAX, and the technologies that compete against it (UMTS-TDD, for instance) have a very promising future. Right now, the biggest hurdle is getting people to pull their fingers out in getting the technology up, and getting the infrastructure installed. Is it a Utopia? No, nothing ever is. Do the limits of the electromagnetic spectrum have any serious risk of derailing this? Not a chance.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317424)

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 addressed by the WiMAX powers that be. This could pose a big problem for older cities like New York, Philadelphia and Boston, where most of the city is made up of old stone buildings.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318474)

> 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.

Combined with smart antennas, the range will be much greater, and you can engineer the network to support non line of sight and pure mobility. At 2.5 GHz with 16e WiMAX, you should see the same distances as with 3G mobile at 1.9 GHz.

Re:The electromagnetic spectrum has limits, people (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321238)

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 scale to *huge* amounts of bandwidth.

The limits are practical limits, and they will improve as our technology improves. What needs to be done, is to slowly wrest the licensed spectrum (which is essentially wasted) from the broadcast corporations, and give it to the people.

Tech blogs reveal WiMax profitable (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315320)

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 (4, Insightful)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Yes Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315834)

I agree with some of what you said but NVIDIA vs ATI doesn't work. First it would be AMD vs Intel and AMD vs NVIDIA in this case. Second, I don't see much competition between the two lately. Its similar to the video game market, most people are happy there are two or three vendors. Intel doesn't make gamer cards so unless someone new enters we won't see innovation for a number of years.

In a word..... Maybe (3, Interesting)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:In a word..... Maybe (1)

pieinthesky (310645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317212)

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.

Has anyone tried Clearwire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315664)

I've seen Clearwire offers in my area, but I didn't realize that they were WiMax. Are they any good?

Break the telco/cable hold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315674)

Please yes! Anything that will give the regional cable and phone monopoly line owners -- much of which has been subsidized by tax breaks, monopoly rates charged to consumers, and other means -- a bitter dose of competition is very much welcome.

Let's hope it gives them the royal screwing they deserve for their damn anti-neutrality schemes too. I PAY for a certain download speed, and I expect to get as close to that speed as content providers' servers can deliver.

Re:Break the telco/cable hold (2, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315956)

ClearWire offers services in my area.. i looked into it.. for what i get with TimeWarner Cable (at 45$ a month) it would cost me >100$ a month and i would have to sign a two year contract.. sorry no go for me..

We where a test bed for Nextel's wireless - it was nice and was about 80$ a month for the same services as i get with cable - but the closed the service.

already available in spain (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315832)

... 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.

Re:already available in spain (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316584)

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 (4, Interesting)

Zheng Yi Quan (984645) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

I want to know... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17315968)

...is what happens during a nice, juicy rain or thunderstorm? Eh?

Actual WiMAX customer (3, Insightful)

karikas (785024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316216)

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 don't need a raging net connection and this was $10/less per month than any other solutions as I don't have a phone or cable line to bundle with for the big providers. Also they do offer the magic of accessing their network from anywhere in their range, which I haven't tried yet, but ideally I can access it in the mall, on the outskirts of town, or another city where they have service (a very wonderful thing). Unfortunately it involves carrying around their modem, which is the size of a modem, and not that practical for everyday use.

Thunderstorms are fine! Weather has been hell in Seattle for the last month, and aside from losing power due to a windstorm I've held my connection through rain, wind, snow, no noticeable decline in connection speed.

While I would like the available speeds to be higher I've been pretty happy, even if they're making a good profit on it I'm still saving money compared to a land-based solution.

--
Captain Karikas of http://www.piratejokes.net/ [piratejokes.net]

Re:I want to know... (1)

Kymation (948416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316756)

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.

Snappy Answers to Slashdot Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17315970)

"Could this be the new backbone of the mobile effort?"

No.

This has been another installment of Snappy Answers to Slashdot Questions.

WiMAX in Toronto (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17316026)

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.
The data rate isn't too bad (1.5 Mbps) considering I used to use their High Speed Light at 1 Mbps. It cost me around CAD$40 a month (about US$30) for unlimited access. My only grip is their DHCP server doesn't assign me a hostname, just an IP, which, of course, is dynamic.
Otherwise, it's great. When I moved from my old place to this one, I didn't need to reactivate my internet as all I had to do is unplug the device from the old place and replug it as home. I didn't have telephone or cable setup and yet I already had internet.
Another advantage is that since it's on a licensed band, there are almost no interferences and it comes with builtin encryption.

AC

Re:WiMAX in Toronto (1)

Maurice (114520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17321560)


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.

I am already using Clearwire... (3, Interesting)

SeaSolder (979866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316086)

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.

Re:mod 3oWn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17318034)

Fuckoff goat.cx guy

I can't wait (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316156)

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 expect to see full PDA-like cell phones coming out and being used by almost everyone. That means that we would have more choice for real work being done on our phones rather than to have to get a Treo or a clumsy Windows-Mobile device as our options.

Also, this would be great for Skype and its users, since we would be able to talk on our phones while paying for internet, which is a lot more worthwhile than paying for lots of minutes that may not be used.

I'd be willing to pay a lot for this (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316296)

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.

Investment Question (1)

starrsoft (745524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17316458)

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?

Mobility is not free (1)

Yag (537766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17317750)

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, don't know, i think WiMax will be great were no other connectivity alternative is possible, but, in big cities, cabling will be the best solution for a long long time.

I use Clearwire in Brussels. (2, Interesting)

njen (859685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17318486)

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 connection fee (comes with free use of a modem which gets returned once your contract is up), brought it home, and was online an hour later. Sure I have roughly half the monthly download limit of a DSL connection for the same price, but I'd rather that than wait up to 6 weeks for the internet. I am happy so far.

Re:I use Clearwire in Brussels. (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 7 years ago | (#17323700)

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.

Free For All (1)

tsoldrin (969533) | more than 6 years ago | (#17318918)

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 in the license free range and the fact that they offer services such as "intracell blocking" to keep subscribers from directly connecting to eachother suggests that the ability to do so is actually a built in 'feature'. This has a lot of possibilities. I wonder if they were short sighted to the possibilities of losing control over this medium or just betting that the masses would be too stupid to make use of it in such guerilla style tactic.

I work on this stuff... (1)

white_eskimo (1007149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17322296)

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]

Competition. (1)

stiofanmac (1021621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17323434)

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.
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