Clearwire: Initial Report

I’ve had a weekend or so to play with Clearwire. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

Speed

According to the Irish ISP speed test, I’m getting 2MB down, and approximately 300kb up. Sharing this among two computers isn’t much of a stretch: my girlfriend was able to comfortably run Software Update on her iBook (which hadn’t been updated in about 5 months) while I was able to maintain a 120kb/s download.

I’m not much of a PC gamer, but I’ve had no problems using Xbox live on Clearwire. Smooth, lagless gaming. Which means there’s no real excuse for me having my ass handed to me in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow except my lack of real skills. Dammit.

Setup

Setup was certainly simple. They just provide you with a little box, about the size of two DVD cases put together, that you just put near a window. It presents you with an RJ45 connection, and that’s it. No messing about with usernames or passwords. Usually my first instinct when you give me a closed black box is to crack it open and see how it works, but after three months of struggling to get broadband in our apartment, I’m really not going to push my luck with this one.

My only concern is at the user end of the RJ45 connection is a public IP, meaning your computer is connected directly to the internet. And I’ll be damned if I’ll ever put have a Windows machine directly on the internet. But no worries, the clearwire works perfectly with my Linksys WRT54G.

Issues?

Nothing too spectacular too far. The only thing I’ve noticed is a couple of DNS oddities - the DNS servers they give you seem to have trouble with a lot of hosts. For example, thefraudcast.com:

Server: cwi004.clearwire.ie Address: 85.134.255.245#53 Non-authoritative answer: *** Can't find www.thefraudcast.com: No answer

versus a working server:

Server: 194.125.2.240 Address: 194.125.2.240#53 Non-authoritative answer: www.thefraudcast.com canonical name = thefraudcast.com. Name: thefraudcast.com Address: 67.18.209.59

… but this can all be fixed by providing my own DNS server ahead of the ISP-provided ones.

I’m reasonably impressed so far. It’ll be interesting to see how it scales as more people jump on board.