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Communications Wireless Networking Hardware

WiMax Is Finally Coming — Here's How It Performs 112

GMGruman writes "Carriers have promised WiMax networks for years. But will they deliver the goods, or be slow like many early 3G networks or patchy in coverage like the metro Wi-Fi attempts in most cities? This hands-on review looks at a nearly-WiMax deployment (technically, OFDM) in Reno, testing its speeds and reach, as a measure of what Sprint and Clearwire will deliver in their joint WiMax rollouts starting next month. The good news is that this time, the carrier promises look to be delivered on."
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WiMax Is Finally Coming — Here's How It Performs

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  • Bandwidth limits? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @10:10AM (#25204177)

    There are already cellular broadband cards available from most carriers that seem to perform at fairly similar speeds. My main concern is what type of (monthly) bandwidth they offer. Standard practice from MOST carriers seems to be a 5GB per month limit, which is just ridiculously low (you could literally kill your monthly bandwidth with a single HD video rental from iTunes or Xbox live). In looking the main carrier that I couldn't find had a limit stated was Cricket - but their service area doesn't quite reach out to my house.

    So long as my DSL offers effectively unlimited bandwidth (I only have a 1Mbps DSL connection so it'd hard to pull down more than the connection support anyways), I'll stick with them, even with some reliability problems.

  • by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @10:50AM (#25204621)

    Is WiMax intended to upgrade/replace Wifi (eg, I buy my own WiMax router, connect it to my own Ethernet network, and can then access said network wirelessly at extended range and/or speed with off-the-shelf hardware?) or is it intended to replace GPRS/3G/etc cell data networks (Eg, I bend over and get fscked with a long overpriced contract to a cellco, have to buy their proprietary hardware to use with it [which isnt of using standards like ethernet, plugs in with pcmcia only, and requires windoze-only proprietary software drivers], and then get the "privilege" of being billed per-kbyte of data I transfer over it)

    If the former, than Yay WiMax. If the latter, then *yawn*.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @11:32AM (#25205163)

    Yes, but for many people, particularly in rural areas, cellular is the only way to get a decent connection speed (without resorting to satellite was has reliability problems and similar bandwidth caps - though you do get to at least revert to dial up speeds after exceeding those).

    In that case it's not really a question of what it's "meant for". It's a question of what it can do. For rural people with no other options, cellular is a valid solution if they could get the bandwidth cap to something more reasonable.

  • by limaxray ( 1292094 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @11:49AM (#25205363)
    Those type of people are in the vast minority - most cellular broadband customers use it for mobile business purposes where 5G is more than enough. In most carrier's contracts it actually says you can NOT use it as a primary (or even as a backup) site internet connection. They are intended solely for mobile connectivity purposes.
  • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @12:13PM (#25205713)

    >>>for the WiMax project, there will not be any bandwidth cap.

    Riiiiight. And Comcast actually gives me the 10 megabits/second I paid for. Yep. Uh huh. Sure. Last I checked my Utorrent is maxing-out at just 100 kilobytes/s, aka ~1 Mbps, not 10.

  • And latency...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nexus7 ( 2919 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @01:20PM (#25206651)

    Another review that pretends that latency is irrelevant.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday September 30, 2008 @01:37PM (#25206893)

    You know, $10/GB wouldn't even be as bad if they would scale it up linearly.

    The cell providers here normally charge $60/month for 5GB, but if you go over that, it's $0.25 per MB (yep, megabyte).

    So your first 5/GB is $60 and your second would be $1280. That's just ridiculous.

    BTW, for Verizon at least, the only step DOWN from that $60 plan is a $40 plan where you get 50MB per month (again, that really is fifty megabytes - only stressing as if I hadn't checked on this myself I'd read that and assume that someone left out an extra zero or something) with the same overage charges. Prices on this stuff is just insane.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin