Clear 4G WiMAX | 2010 Review

Clear 4G WiMAX | 2010

For the most recent info, see the 2011 Clear 4G Review

WiMAX, the final frontier.

Sounds like something out of the last Star Trek series (Star Wars if you’re not a trekkie). All jokes aside, WiMAX is a next generation 4G mobile broadband technology. As we covered before, it’s like a hot spot that covers an entire city.

So what’s the catch?

It’s new and not available everywhere.

Clearwire, with the financial backing of Sprint, Google, Comcast and Intel (to name a few) is rolling it out across the country under the brand CLEAR.

Meanwhile, Sprint and Comcast are reselling the service as MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) under the Sprint 4G and HighSpeed2Go brands respectively.

While you may have heard of Sprint’s Xohm, it has merged with CLEAR 4G WiMAX.

What does all this mean for you?

CLEAR will be the go to carrier for mobile WiMAX with Sprint 4G and HighSpeed2Go by Comcast as alternatives of essentially the same service.

With that being said, we’ll cover the usual mobile broadband suspects:

  1. 4G Plans
  2. 4G Speed
  3. 4G Coverage
  4. 4G Devices

Before we hop into that, here’s a deeper primer on what makes WiMAX work. Otherwise, skip right to the review:

What is WiMAX & How Does It Work?

Chances are you’ve heard of WiFi and 3G. While they all use radio waves to transmit data they’ve got distinct differences.

WiFi is like a cordless phone. It’s good for around the house and you can use it as much as you want. 3G mobile broadband, however, is like your cell phone. It’s good just about any and everywhere but you’ve got ‘minutes’ [data in this case] that can run out.

And then there’s WiMAX.

It hopes to be the perfect blend of the WiFi & 3G. With cable/fiber optic speed delivered in WiFi-like fashion with coverage akin to current 3G networks, it can shape up to be a higher speed internet that’s available just about everywhere.

WiFi signals compete for bandwidth, and can be easier to interrupt if too far from the source. Similarly, 3G technology also depends on distance. Obstructions between you and the tower can also affect your signal strength. It’s almost like being on a telephone party line. WiMAX, however,  is like having a faster, dedicated private line.

Mobile WiMAX, also called 801.16e 2005, operates at bandwidths from 2 to 66 GHz, which allow a low frequency, long range, high powered signal. This makes service inside buildings is better. WiMAX towers also work in line-of-sight, transmitting signal from tower to user, or tower to tower(s) to user. With multiple avenues for signals to travel, it’s easier for them to get where they need to.

Does all that make WiMAX ready for primetime?

The jury is still out.

As frontrunners Sprint and Clearwire work on the details of their merger, companies like Verizon and AT&T are plotting the launch of rival technology LTE. Also, T-Mobile is working on rolling out its super fast HSPA+ network. To stay ahead of the game, CLEAR WiMAX is gonna have to move pretty fast to lock in market share. With plans to launch 25 markets before the end of 2009, they’re not doing too shabby.

Let’s see what they’re working with.

But first, a sidenote:

Dear Copyright Lawyers, please note that Clear should actually be CLEAR™ . Please forgive me for typing Clear for the duration of this review. Since I’ll be using the word a lot to mean only one thing, I don’t wish to shout at you in ALL CAPS FOR THE ENTIRE REVIEW. Thanks in advance.

 

CLEAR 4G Plans & Prices

Clear 4G Plans

Clear has a number of unlimited mobile broadband plans divided into 4 types: Home, Mobile, Bundle and Professional (small office) plans.

The hallmark of Clear 4G plans is 2-fold.

2 year contracts and data caps are a thing of the past.

It’s a mobile broadband user’s dream.

Freedom to download to the digital heart’s content alongside the freedom the leave anytime.

Read on for the full review on the buffet of 4G plans they’ve got lined up for you.

 

How Fast is CLEAR 4G Speed?

Clear 4G Speed Test

Clear offers the speeds you’d get from DSL or cable internet wirelessly. With several 4G speed tests backing them up, it’s the real deal.
Clear brags average speeds of 3 – 6 Mbps with bursts over 10 Mbps.

That’s  2 – 3 times faster than the average 0.6 – 1.4 Mbps offered by current 3G carriers averages.

With those speeds you can game online, stream HD video from YouTube or listen to internet radio like Pandora on the go without worrying about choppy experiences or data usage caps.

Read on for live Clear WiMAX speed tests.

 

Is CLEAR Coverage in your City?

WiMAX Coverage

Clear 4G Coverage is growing rapidly. If they can duplicate the rollout Sprint (one major investor) did of its EVDO Rev. A back in 2006, we can look forward to nationwide 4G coverage in 2011.

Clear’s plan is to have 80 markets with 4G coverage by the end of 2010. If Sprint’s (one of their major investors) past history with 3G coverage rollouts are any indicator, the prospects look bright.

See if you’ve got 4G coverage in your city (or if some is coming soon).

 

CLEAR WiMAX Devices

Clear WiMAX Devices

There’s an array of Clear WiMAX devices to choose from and they fall into 4 major categories:

  • 4G Modems
  • 4G Laptops & Netbooks
  • 4G Mobile Devices
  • 4G Accessories

We navigate the ins and outs of each one to drill down to a device that’ll help you get ‘er done and look good doing it too. Jump to the full reviews on Clear WiMAX devices.

 

Looking for a Comparison?

Looking to see how Clear 4G WiMAX matches up against other mobile broadband providers, see the Carrier Comparison.

 

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21 Comments

  1. Julia says:


    Clear 4g is not fast.
    This is a typical speed test for me. I am pissed. Copy and paste the link into a browser to get my speedtest results.
    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1246252262.png

    I cant even watch my Damned netflix!!!!!! PISSSSEED in TEXAS

    Ive called and called and called for a year already!!!!
    my download speed is .38
    My computer is brand new!!!


  2. John Diaz says:


    I’m paying $52/month, but it actually runs like Dial-Up!!!!!


  3. Jonny says:


    I don’t understand people’s whining. Why did they get Clear in the first place then? Get rid of it if it does not work in your area. Clearly, you are in a crappy reception area. WiMax is fast. It certainly is a lot faster than the 3G crap smartphone you are all addicted to.


    • Michael says:


      WIMAX is not fast unless your a grandfather playing chess online. If your going to post something make sure you know what your talking about first. I work in the industry and CLEAR is the slowest ISP on the market. When your getting speeds that are slower then a dial up there is a problem. So go back and ply your chess game.


  4. Joshua Walker says:


    Clearwire DOESN’T HAVE 4G EVERYWHERE so maybe you should pay attention to your coverage area!!! Clear provides 4G service where available but backs up to 3G coverage (cell towers) if 4G is not available. When you connect to 3G and whine about how slow your 4G service is, you make yourself look like a moron. Check their coverage


  5. alfred frank says:


    in gonna muve to bradenton florida and i wana know if i can have claer over in that area with (wimax) and if i can be at the computer and play ps3 online at the same time with one mobile device from clear, becose 45/ mo. for all that sounds good. Thank you


  6. Chase says:


    I don’t even get 0.5 Mbps from Clear.
    Charter has a service for $5.00 less and is 12-24 times faster than this.


  7. Paul says:


    Clear is wierd. Sometimes the best technical support – bunch of Utah folks – but…. service is really buggy – if it works it is usually oversold so they throttle you down – if it doesn’t they say it will be fixed soon – that was 4 months ago…

    I would go with sprint mifi on android – cheaper and you get 4g from the much more prevalent sprint towers


    • Michael says:


      SPRINT is the same company. SPRINT and Comcast are the financial back of CLEAR.


      • Michael says:


        Oh and secondly were not talking about Internet for our PHONES. Were talking about are home computers.


  8. sglover says:


    “Unless you’re really trying to slum it, don’t go for the Basic home. 1.5 Mbps download speeds would be good for about email and not much else (comfortably).”

    And yet, in my ‘slum’, I’ve been able to watch Netflix quite reliably on my slummy DSL line. So — the reviewer is an ignoramus. Or a shill.

    This ‘review’ reads like a press release from the marketing department. Since I’m finding that Verizon is no longer interested in providing a working DSL service, I’m looking for alternatives. I have a hard time trusting a ‘review’ that gushes. Next time, try to at least **fake** objectivity.

    Guess I learned not to waste time on this site any more…..


    • Michael says:


      Thats because Verizon is trying to push FIOS now.


  9. sglover says:


    Postscript: The comments are more informative and believable than the ‘review’.


  10. Bill says:


    I would not recommend using CLEAR for anything folks. CLEAR has offshored their entire call center operation to a bunch of Indians who just repeat the script that is in front of them. I just got the device last week and was setting it up tonight as a replacement for my ATT DSL. However, it does not work well enough to replace my 10+ year old SpeedStream DSL modem. Just amazing… The main problem for me is the fact that CLEAR offshored their entire call center operation. Being in IT, I do not like, nor tolerate in my personal life, Offshored resources and have never believed that is the best way to treat your customer base. To say I am hostile towards Paki’s/Indian’s/Chinese or others would be an understatement and I make no apologies for it. I have neither the time nor patience to put up with a foreigner who can barely understand me or my question much less provide less than adequate support or knowledge to answer the question posed. Besides, my direct work experience with offshored call centers has proven to me that they are not worth the hassle they cause. Due to my experience with offshored resources, I do not deal with any company that uses that type of call center for support. ATT is doing it and I am in the process of finding a replacement for their services.

    An example of what I ran into tonight are exemplified by these two simple questions which took three people with long pauses (more than five minutes) and two calls being made by me to get that I had to provide more information to get the answers I was looking for:

    1) “If I call during normal business hours, can I get someone who is in the Continental US that can give me answers to technical questions for setting the WiMAX modem to work with a NetGear FVS318g Router?” 2) which then progressed to questions of “Who in CLEAR can give me RMA information so I can send back the device I got last week and have my service cancelled?”

    Beware if you have been told that they have good tech support based in the US because I was also told that CLEAR has gone totally offshore on ALL call center items. That would mean that any billing inquiries, tech support or anything else that you may need as a customer is now handled offshore. It is time for folks to start demanding that companies stop this foolishness and bring the call centers back to the US so the customers can get their money’s worth.

    In my case, I did not even get the darn thing in place to see if it would perform better than what I currently have because of the lack of competent technical support. I am going to call during normal business hours tomorrow and cancel my service on the basis of their use of offshored resources and for the fact that their WiMAX device can’t be configured to replace a 10 plus year old DSL modem in bridge mode. Jeeesh, louise, this country is really screwed if this is continues.

    Back to the drawing board as far as Internet Connectivity since I will replace ATT but it will NOT be with CLEAR even if I do get 5 bars in my home.


    • Asian says:


      Wake up Dude, the world is different now. Every company manufactures in China and provides services from India. This is reality because Americans kept sitting on their asses and thought that the entire world is under their stealth bombers. The transition has been happening for a while and will continue to a point when there would not be many companies in America to make most businesses viable.

      You don’t like it, too bad. Move to Sarah Palin’s garage, ’cause no one in India or China would hire you.


  11. Cameron says:


    Clear is not true broadband in that they have the technology to theoretically provide you with broadband content but they are forced to limit how much you use due to their limited infrastructure to handle that level of service.

    THEY WILL CAP YOU if you do anything associated with basic modern internet usage.

    If you do ANY of the following DO NOT GET CLEAR:

    Watch You Tube videos
    Use Netflix streaming
    Are a web developer
    Are a web designer
    Download large files like OS Installs
    Download large files like OS Updates
    Play MMO games like Warcraft

    If you do the above your usage will be deemed “Excessive” and the network hardware that monitors usage hourly will CAP the top offenders and rate limit their bandwidth to 62.5KBs.

    If you only use the internet for checking mail and surfing text based web pages then Clear is for you.

    For the real world today Clear is not a viable choice.


    • Dar says:


      Thank you for the truth, why do they all lie saying they have unlimited no slow down internet service. I am so sick of these lieing b*%@#%, it’s just plain basic fraud. Lie to the customer. get’em signed up and take their money; then let them complain (while we still eek more money from them before they become completely fed up and take the loss of buying the device, After all we did provide them with service, ha ha ha …Suckers). Who’s next. 6mos later – Hey Folks, we have a new improved technology that’s completely new & different than anyone else. And the cycle continues.


  12. eric says:


    i purchased a clear hotspot device ,,, it had no coverage at my home so i tried to cancel within a week the first clear employee failed to cancel i then called back the day a so after the second person did not cancel then i called once again the the third person canceled i then used the return label to mail device back its been a month since and i have not got a refund,, i also could not cancel at mall kiosk where i purchased which was a major inconvience i would rate clear service at a 0 for the worst


  13. eric says:


    clear continued i have then tried to do online chat with them which the clear website says is the best way to contact them and they said they could not help me regarding the refund delay i was told to call them if like the cancelation fiasco it will probably take 3 calls to get my money back


  14. Tian says:


    I just cancelled because I was being throttled down to as low as 0.17 Mb/sec for “excessive use”. Three Netflix movies in a week is “excessive”.
    If your download is slower thatn your upload speeds with Speedtest, you are being throttled.


  15. Julia says:


    They do too slow down if you are getting a lot of activity on your tower….. JUST CALL AND ASK THEM SMARTY PANTS…
    CROCK OF CRAP is what you just posted.


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