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
    Psilon Hierlore, 23 Dec 2006 @ 1:34am

    Complaint and response to clearwire

    This man personally set everything up in my house THE DAY i signed up, and cheerfully promoted how fast video off websites loads (including and how fast everything works. We had exccelent reception the day we installed it, but a few weeks later, it tapered off to 4 and then 3 (sometimes it'll just drop to 1).

    He lacked to tell me about how all these ports are blocked; I play Battlefield 2142 on a daily basis, but only for about 20 minutes since I'm disconnected so frequently.

    Do NOT get the Clearwire service unless you're only on the internet for minor things, like looking at plain websites or checking your email. If you plan on doing anything that involves voice chat, watching videos on websites, playing games, or anything similar (which pretty much is what everyone does nowadays), go with someone else.

    They weasel you into a contract that they charge a hefty fee if you try to break it; if you're fine with losing some money while breaking away, do it and leave as soon as possible. You'll probably save money avoiding the frustration of broken things and/or anger management classes when you finally leave.

    From: Howard Feinstein
    Date: Dec 22, 2006 11:53 PM
    Subject: RE: unsatisfied with Clearwire service provided
    To: Psilon Hierlore

    I am sorry to hear you are having problems... I do not recognize your name from your email (Psilon Hielore?) so please forgive me for asking your name and phone number.

    Have you contacted tech support to see if there is a problem with your modem?

    Where did you get your service, did I install it for you? If so, I'll be happy to see if I can get a better signal for you...what is your address?

    Youtube and myspace are notoriously slow on any service due to the overwhelming hits they take. Also, we get our service from GCI as they have the backbone to the lower 48. If you want to check your speed, go to or You will see your download speed there accurately. If it's slow, then we can work on seeing why. If it's near 1.3-1.5 then it's the feed from the server that's not great and not due to
    clearwire's part.

    The Terms of service address ports blocking. You can see the Terms of Service on the bottom of the front page.

    Thanks for sending me your contact info so I can talk with you about your problems. You are also welcome to call our office if you do not want to talk to me. The number is 550-7800.

    A few questions...what speed is your computer? Is it a desktop or a laptop?
    What games are you trying to play?

    Thank you for the chance to deal with this. Hope to hear from you as soon as


    Howard Feinstein

    Sales Manager, High Frequency Wireless


    Bringing you Dish Network, Clearwire and Alaska Digitel with personal service unlike any other!

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Psilon Hierlore [mailto ***
    Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 10:43 PM
    Subject: unsatisfied with clearwire service provided

    I currently live in Eagle River, and I am having severe issues using the Clearwire service you have provided. For months I have tried to talk to family over various programs, trying to share video at speeds you claimed were fast, but I have many issues keeping a consistent connection, let alone the speeds were poor.

    For a 1.5 MB connection, even at "3 dots" of reception on the recieving device, pages still take more than 30 seconds to load- and they are mostly text. Video from sites such as and myspace will take over 10 minutes to load a 30 second clip. I have also done research, learning that Clearwire filters many ports, which you failed to advertise; I cannot properly use the bandwitdh that is provided for any of the games I play online.

    I fail to remember reading or hearing of these issues when I signed the contract. Nowhere on Clearwire's website does it state such things either. I do not know how you will deal with such an issue, but henceforth I will be notifying anyone who also has this service of
    what really is going on, unless the problem is fixed soon.

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