Optical/IP Networks

Clear Doubles Up in Oregon

Portlanders trying to upload photos and other content over Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s mobile WiMax network should have had a marked speed boost over the weekend, according to the operator's upgrade plans.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based operator was planning to double the speed at which users can upload content over the recently installed wireless broadband network to 1 Mbit/s, a Clearwire spokesman told Unstrung late Friday afternoon. Downlink speeds will remain the same at "3 to 6 Mbit/s."

"Customers will begin to see the faster speeds beginning Saturday," the spokesman notes. "The change will be automatic, and no action is required on the customer’s part."

Carriers have tended to focus on increased downlink speeds as a selling point when selling new services. Uplink speeds, however, are becoming increasingly important with many more people updating and uploading content to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter while on the move. (See The Importance of the Mobile Uplink.)

The update puts Clearwire in the forefront -- or close to it -- of wireless wide-area uplink speeds in the U.S. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is promising uplink speeds of between 500 kbit/s and 1.2 Mbit/s via its High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology when it upgrades its 3G networks this year. CDMA Evolution, Data Only revision A speeds top out at around 400 kbit/s.

Of course, speeds on paper can be quite different from speeds in the real world. Unstrung would be interested to hear from any Portland Clear users whether there is a noticeable difference in uplink speeds after the upgrade.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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