News Analysis: Tests of WiMax and LTE in Phoenix demonstrate that Clearwire's technology is getting close to being true 4G. T-Mobile doubles the speed of its HSPA+ network in Las Vegas tests.
a video released at the beginning of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas, Clearwire clearly demonstrates that it is very
close to achieving the 100M-bps download speeds required by the ITU
definition of 4G wireless communications. The company released a YouTube video of the tests
which are being conducted in Phoenix
on an ongoing basis.
Clearwire tests, which were conducted in a mobile environment, showed that by
using the 20MHz bandwidth, Clearwire's LTE and WiMax are currently capable of
producing 90M- to 95M-bps download speeds, with uploads in the 30M-bps range.
This is dramatically faster than anything demonstrated by any other carrier,
and it shows that with a few tweaks, Clearwire will reach the ITU's
100M-bps requirement to actually be considered 4G.
are a few caveats, however. As you can see in the Clearwire tests, the actual
throughput is impacted by the network infrastructure. Clearwire's tests
exceeded the network capacity in one set of tests, and only when it used its own
servers was it able to reach full speed. It's also worth noting that the
Clearwire test environment was essentially one mobile tester having the network
to itself, something that would never happen in real life.
as Clearwire points out, the company has massive spectrum resources. Providing
lightly loaded 20MHz channels to a large number of users is easier for
Clearwire than it might be for other companies. The fact that it can provide
these speeds with both WiMax and LTE
also means that Clearwire may have room to accommodate more than one carrier.
So if T-Mobile contracts with the company for LTE as it moves beyond its
current HSPA+, Clearwire may be able to handle both Sprint and T-Mobile.
this isn't to suggest that T-Mobile is resting on its laurels. That company also
produced a video
of its own speed tests
conducted in Las Vegas
using the existing T-Mobile
network. T-Mobile has just announced that it has doubled the speed of
its network from a theoretical 21M bps to 42M bps. The speed tests conducted by
T-Mobile did not show anything close to the speeds that Clearwire was able to
show, but the T-Mobile tests were conducted on a live network using existing
laptop wireless cards.
there are speed differences between T-Mobile's HSPA+ and Clearwire's LTE and
WiMax. T-Mobile was only able to get speeds of just under 30M bps despite the
theoretical 43M-bps capability. But T-Mobile was using its operational network
that presumably was also being used by all of those other T-Mobile customers
out there in Las Vegas at this huge
trade show. Clearwire had the network to itself.