As someone who has used WiMax, I must say that the deployment I saw was pretty sad compared to anything but dial-up, and sometimes, the service was slower than dial-up. That was in a very unpopulated area of Arizona, where there should have been no problems, as the air was clear, and there was a straight shot to the other end of the connection from the Motorola WiMax “modem” that was issued.

Hopefully the Clearwire deployment will be much more like the stories we all read about in the Chicago test cases, where speeds of up to 18Mb/s were reached.

Nonetheless, connection is better than no connection, and I am sure that WiMax will be the only choice for some, and their service might just be garnered through a trip to Best Buy.

[Information Week]

Best Buy plans to offer next year Clearwire’s 4G wireless broadband service.

The consumer electronics retailer on Thursday announced a wholesale deal in which Best Buy would offer Clearwire’s WiMax service through the retailer’s recently announced Connect service. Best Buy plans to start offering the service in 2011, but didn’t provide a specific date.

Best Buy launched Connect to provide "one-stop shopping" for electronics, wireless service, billing and customer support. But the number of cities the retailer will be able to offer Clearwire’s high-speed service will depend on how fast it can be rolled out in U.S. cities.

The company’s 4G service is currently available in 36 cities and is expected to add 24 more by the end of the year. The additional cities include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Denver and Miami.

I’m not sure if areas of highly populated cities are the place to deploy WiMax, though, with all the choices of frequency that are designated as available for use with WiMax, perhaps congestion can be avoided.

Clearwire investors include Sprint Nextel, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which also have wholesale agreements with the wireless service provider. Best Buy is the first such partner that isn’t also an investor.

Best Buy currently sells through Connect cellular laptop cards that run on Sprint Nextel’s 3G wireless network. However, the cards carry the Best Buy brand.

How Best Buy will offer the Clearwire service was not disclosed, but the latter company last month introduced three 4G modems. The Clear Spot 4G is a WiMax-only personal mobile hotspot, while the Clear Spot 4G+ can access both the 4G network and the EVDO 3G network. The third modem, the Clear 4G+ Mobile USB Series S is a 4G/3G laptop dongle that supports Macs and Windows PCs.

Clearwire says its usage plans do not require long-term service contracts. Unlimited 4G coverage starts at $30 in most markets for residential service and unlimited mobile plans start at $40.

If the offerings are from Motorola, and like the Motorola unit that I used, it will be incredibly easily set up, so that is a definite plus, as there should be service calls to only the fewest of customers. I notice in the blurb that no speeds are mentioned, and that is probably very good, as the speeds I experienced varied widely, changing by a factor of 4 or more in only 15 minutes time.




WiMax would work great on Mars, just put the node on Olympus Mons…