Clearwire's Non-WiMax Now Non-Useful: Blocks VoIP, Streaming Media

from the wonderful dept

Craig McCaw's Clearwire wireless outfit has received plenty of attention -- mainly for being run by Craig McCaw. Late last year, Intel had to pay Clearwire to convince them to use WiMax (which, still doesn't actually exist) as the core of their wireless offering, as WiMax was proving to be increasingly less than the hype would have you believe. Earlier this month, Bell Canada made a surprise announcement, saying they would provide VoIP for Clearwire in the US -- giving the Canadian telco a way to enter the US market. Still, it appears the folks at Clearwire haven't been paying attention to the whole "network neutrality" debate or the fact that an ISP has been fined for blocking Vonage. Instead, Clearwire proudly states that they will block any application they don't like -- including non-Bell Canada VoIP and any streaming audio or video offering. In other words, Clearwire's wireless broadband is becoming close to useless, because they want to control what you can and can't do over it. They claim they need to do this "to ensure network performance reliability," but can't explain how it's okay for them to offer VoIP, but Vonage must be blocked. More importantly, if Clearwire is saying they can't have a stable network when people are doing VoIP or streaming media, it certainly raises a lot of questions about the quality of WiMax.

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  1. identicon
    InfoTainment, 6 Jan 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Getting worse and worse

    This is but a brief sample of what we are presently going through:

    12/1/06:
    No connection possible starting from shortly after 12 AM until midnight.

    12/26/06:
    Connection speed very low (77kb/sec). Impossible to do picture or ftp-uploads.

    12/8/06
    Mail to Clearwire through their support Website:
    "This is to inform you that we are very dissatisfied with our Clearwire Internet. Frequently, the speed is unacceptably low (less than 500kbit/s), at times, even slower than dial-up, in reality, it is unusable then. Usually on week-ends, performance and signal strength goes down, we get only 2 or 1 lights on the modem).

    I just measured the speed (Friday afternoon), I got 403 kbit/s. This is not really the promised "high-speed" internet connection we are paying for. There are days the internet does not work at all (like last Friday Dec. 1 and other previous days). Usually, it is then when we need it the most; in several instances, we had to ask friends who have another ISP to help us out.

    Looking on your coverage maps, I found out that we actually live in a spot that is not covered by Clearwire, it is right in between the dark green areas around ... and ..., so, in reality - acc. to this map - we are not "covered" by the transmitters. This might explain the unacceptably low quality of the service.

    Brief: We feel we are paying for a service we actually do not have."

    As usual, no reaction nor response from Clearwire.

    12/22/2006
    Today - again - extremely low speed. I just measured 77 kilobits (not kilobytes!) per sec. - it is getting worse and worse. This is dial-up phone-modem speed. Obviously, bec. many people were at home during the X-mas brake, Clearwire's towers were getting crammed. This is really annoying! We are paying for a service we actually do not have.

    12/26/2006
    yesterday again, nothing but Clearwire Internet connection problems. Right in the middle of upload-procedures, there occurred internet connection interruptions that caused faulty upload results. When pinging servers in the Internet (Clearwire and other servers, DNS etc.), there was no response. We had to re-initiate the upload several times until it was finally possible to get our uploads done. Steady Internet connections for uploads are only possible when running permanent pings to the Clearwire-Gateway and DNS servers, for otherwise, Clearwire will disconnect the connection right in the middle of an operation. All of this is absolutely deplorable and annoying.

    1/5/07
    Today again: VERY slow speed (less than 100 kilobits/sec.) and frequent interruptions.
    Evening: No connection anymore, no ping possible.

    1/6/06
    Slow speed (94 kbit/s.) Called Clearwire again, talked to a guy. Measured speed: 375 kbit/sec. Locating were we are, the guy admitted we are "at the edge - MAYBE outside - of coverage area." But he advised us that if we were going to quit the contract, we would be "penalized" ($300 modem fee), although - based on their own "coverage maps", Clearwire should never have sold us their product, knowing we are not covered. Re-opened a ticket which already was in the system for us from former calls, but which had been closed, although the issue had never been solved. Will contact local office, but told us to call there as well. We informed him we tried to contact someone over there countless times, without result so far.

    This was but a brief excerpt of what really is going on. By now, we are convinced this Clearwire thing is a big hoax - getting people into "gag contracts", then slowly but surely stalling their service while threatening them with an exorbitant quitting fee.

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