jonathan on 3 May 2010 10:12:50 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] experience with Clear wireless?

I am a clear user since February, in the Bridgeport area.

The plan I am on consists of 2 connections, one tied to a modem for home use
(this device has a wimax connection and a single cat5 connection) and one
UBS dongle. The plan price as advertised was $55 a month, for life, with
"unlimited" speed.  Some plans have speeds limits imposed, this one is
supposed to be capable of the maximum currently available. The advertised
speed is 6Mbit and I regularly achieve this, once or twice I think I've
actually seen more.  

The USB dongle does NOT work with Linux.  There has been talk of making it
work, but my occasional searches reveal nothing new on that front. It can be
made to work using various combinations of a windows VM providing network
for Linux, or the reverse.  With windows it "just works" (once the software
is installed, it initializes when the device is plugged in and waits for you
to hit connect).  I've had near perfect success providing network access to
a Linux guest running under windows, and some limited success providing
network access to a Linux host via a windows VM.  I've had no success at all
getting it to work under Linux natively but to be fair, that is not my cup
of tea.

The home modem device is made by Motorola, it is quite simple, with a single
Ethernet port. Attach it to a computer, or a router, and you have internet.
The interface on the device doesn't offer much but it does do basic NAT and
has a DMZ host option. I set the DMZ host to my real router and left it at
that.  By default, you'll have a dynamic IP but it does not appear to change
unless the modem is reset.  No ports that I've tested are blocked. (tested
http, https, ssh, a few others.)

The speed is obviously lower than something like FIOS provides by a fair
margin, but the real "killing point" if anything is the latency.  Since I've
had it, ping times average about 100ms.  They've decreased slightly over the
months, and even more when I repositioned my modem at home, but the best
case appears to about 70ms.  For many online games and such this is not

All in all, I'm happy.  It provides me the connectivity I need, and the
mobile option I find quite useful.  In my experience Clear is amazingly
honest about where it will and will not work and often conservative about
it.  They recently put up a new online map that shows the coverage areas in
excellent detail overlaid on top of google maps.  If you are near an edge
area, you'll want to position your modem on the correct side of the
building.  I found a good spot and actually put a foil baking pan behind the
modem, which decreased the latency a bit and bought me one more (5 out of 5)
little "connection dots" than before.

I don't use cable or any other TV service other than over the air, so I
cannot really speak about its usability for replacing that. It obviously
won't feed a TV directly so I assume you are asking about using online
services to deliver content. I can't speak for it, but my wife often uses it
during the day to watch content on hulu (I think.)

Hopefully this helps :)  

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 11:54 AM
To: Philadelphia Linux User's Group Discussion List
Subject: [PLUG] experience with Clear wireless?

I'm strongly considering Clear wireless for my home connection and mobile
(mainly Nokia N810 WE around Philly). Does anyone have experience with Clear

(positive or negative)?

I'd be particularly interested in hearing about:

	signal coverage and quality in Manayunk

	reliability (network quality, signal degradation or outage due
		to weather events)

	suitability of the Clear "home" product to replace cable TV for
	content delivery (bandwidth & latency)



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