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Major problems with Clearwire USB modem and signal stability

by qquirks / May 21, 2010 5:55 AM PDT

My kids got Clearwire 2-for last July 09. In November they gave me USB
modem to replace my dialup on 2006 laptop running XP SP3. Had some initial problems that resolved when Clearwire sent a replacement USB Motorola modem after a solid month of wrangling with customer support and doing much busywork (I can uninstall and reinstall the drivers really, really fast) until late April 2010.

My problems are these:
speedtest.net speed rarely if ever exceeds 748 down, .15 to .20 up.

if there is the slightest wind in my area at all, even though I am less than a quarter mile from the tower, I can't maintain stable signal strength. I live in an older neighborhood and yes, there are
tall trees between me and the towner. Non-windy days, no problem. Wind over 10 mph and signal is all over the map and cuts in and out
all on it's own for hours. Tickets have been issued many times to look at my tower to no avail.

are you sure they're not moving the tower around as every day slightly
different computer position required.

Have spent endless hours on the phone with customer support. yes, my laptop is working. won't send another modem. service is lousy and awful.

trace route hops to things like cnet and google show way over 200, sometimes over a thousand just getting to my tower, some packet loss on different days and times. Using UO Trace program.

Go to Clearwire corporate store and they want to sell you all kinds of
goodies for $40, $60, or several hundred bucks to improve your signal.
Trouble is nothing they've done has fixed my problems and maintained a stabile internet connection. So I don't want to purchase their signal finders or new and improved expensive devices because at this point I don't trust them or their customer service.

I can get 768 down under a one year contract DSL phone service in my older neighborhood. The equipment is never going to be improved or upgraded. would I be better off and get reliable internet service?

Thanks for advice, CLEARly frustrated grandma

If you have questions I didn't answer, please ask away.

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I agree.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 21, 2010 7:05 AM PDT

Try DSL next.

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You agree there's a problem or DSL would be more stabile?
by qquirks / May 21, 2010 8:40 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree.

Lost connection trying to compose a response. Mild winds here 2day.
How frustrating!!!

Are all 4G WiMax and 3G WiFi signals this unstabile, or just Clear's?

768 down according to the phone company is the fastest I can get with
phone lines in my neighborhood. That kind of limits Netflix an video streaming like NASA tv.

No other solutions or services that might be able to recommend?

CLEARly appreciate your advice.

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Sorry.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 21, 2010 10:56 PM PDT

No one can answer if YOUR DSL will be more reliable. It should be but given that a bad DSLAM (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Subscriber_Line_Access_Multiplexer ) could be used NO ONE can state it will be perfect. There are other factors too but in theory and most of the time you won't see the troubles there are in cellular data.

If you want an assured solution with 100 per cent uptime I don't think that's available.
Bob

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Okay, no internet connection is perfect
by qquirks / May 22, 2010 12:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry.

Thank you so much for the Wiki link on DSLAM. Knowing my phone company
and the fact that it already owns 51 percent of Clear and having seen bad hops on its links on trace route over the course of weeks and weeks, I think I can predict a less than optimal DSL connection.

So now I have a decision to make on reliability and know there have
been periods of up to two weeks straight where WiMax does not operate except sporadically and unpredictably at best. I do have a mobile
netbook. So I suppose when interference occurs I could move to a
totally different reception location to go online. Maybe if I parked
right under the tower? I don't expect 100 percent guaranteed access. Even dialup couldn't provide that. But there have been times where
this signal has been nothing short of ridiculous and the internet
not accessible for up to several days at a time.

If you don't mind explaining to a virtual newbie, why is it that 4G and 3G networks on cell phones seem able to maintain wireless signal connections more reliably than wireless computer internet connections?
Would you know of a link to help explain that? Is it by system design on the part of cell phone purveyors, for instance? Again,thank you.

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why is it that 4G and 3G networks on cell phones seem able t
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 22, 2010 12:21 AM PDT

"why is it that 4G and 3G networks on cell phones seem able to maintain wireless signal connections more reliably than wireless computer internet connections?"

Actually this is untrue. Dropped calls are fairly normal. Also those downloads and such happen even with spotty connections so an app may call out to fetch data and when it is done the app announces it's ready.

It's a shame no one explained that nothing is very reliable. This is why youtube and such "buffers" so it can withstand the drop.
Bob

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Ok, this discussion of signal reliability is fascinating
by qquirks / May 22, 2010 6:30 AM PDT

Are broadband internet providers under no obligation to consumers under the FCC to explain actual service speeds and reliability of their signals and internet access, then? It was months and looking in
Wiki at WiFi entries before Clear admitted that tall trees/buildings between you and tower were probably major cause of my spotty reception (and based of trace route, hops to and from Clear's equipment, too, if I'm understanding this at all with an average consumer's understanding of internet). I'm not an abusive person especially to customer service reps on the phone, but when paying a pretty high monthly bill for something, I kind of expect it to work and work pretty reliably, like a land line telephone. Guess that's not necessariy so for wireless broadband at this point in time? When
one pays bills online, checks other personal items, this could be a
major problem, as could having to change locations to access broadband
towers. And even though this grandma does simple gaming, it's a real
bother to have gaming interrupted in the middle of rounds that can't be resumed but have to start over when you reconnect.
Thanks for entertaining this discussion. Maybe it will help other
consumers, not just with Clearwire, but other wireless broadband
connections and less than candid service providers and consumers with unrealistic expectations. Been on the internet since 1996, but CLEARly still have much to learn.

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Think about it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 22, 2010 7:46 AM PDT

The system is self correcting. If a provider provides bad service, the customers move away from that service. For example I had DSL and it had issues where the provider would change something and wipe out all of New England for hours. I can only imagine "what were they thinking?"

While they finally straightened it out I had already moved to a cable connection. But what happened next is you can now get the cheap DSL for 15 or 20 a month.
Bob

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Thanks, Bob, for the advice
by qquirks / May 22, 2010 9:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Think about it.

Well, I sure don't want to get stuck for a year with the DSL unknown
of the 51 percent owner of Clearwire; that I'm sure of. So it's on to
Cricket I guess. Thank you, Bob, for the advice.

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