Clearwire Review – Richmond Metro

I was in a bit of a predicament for the past few months. I live in DC and the girlfriend lives in Richmond. Being a somewhat busy dude (60 hours a week the usual) I need my internet. Work provided me a AT&T ExpressCard GT Ultra which is worthless. I even purchased a cradlepoint in hopes that the card just sucked in Linux and Mac. Nope, it sucks with everything.

My requirements for broadband were simple, no install wait and quick enough to stream a webex session while checking email. iPhone tethering was working, but I needed something more standard and supportable. Comcast and DSL were worthless as they wanted contracts and long lead times for install. Clearwire and Sprint 4g were my options to weigh out:

  • Clearwire
    • Cheaper monthly fee and no-commitment contract possibility
    • “Modem” as they call it requires no drivers
    • Signal in short pump was labeled as good
    • 10-15 minute sign up fee and install
    • BUT – can’t take the modem with me and use it JUST on my laptop. PC-Card was expensive
    • SLOW compared to Sprint
  • Sprint 4g
    • Much faster than Clearwire (mind boggling as they share the same WiMAX infrastructure)
    • USB card was both 3g and 4g so I could take it anywhere
    • BUT – u300 USB has no Linux or Mac Drivers
    • Yearly contract and 70 dollar monthly fee was too much to swallow

In the end ClearWire won and after a month of usage I am very happy with the service. Finding the “sweet” spot for coverage was a 20 minute exercise, but with 4 Bars of signal I get decent pings and bandwidth. My girlfriend’s brother uses xBox live when I am not busy with work and has had no problems. I highly recommend a router capable of QoS so that you can make best use of the 1.5Mib package (or 2 for you fancy folks) while sharing a connection. I’d rate the service 4 out of 5 stars.

With 2 bars worth of signal (bad weather…) I usually get around 1200 down

2 bars of service<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">2 bars of service</figcaption></figure>