Print 15 comment(s) - last by Klober.. on Sep 30 at 12:47 PM

Baltimore residents will be able to get WiMAX service downtown only

WiMAX is one of the mobile technologies that promised so much and ultimately was not able to deliver on its promises -- at least on the scale that most people hoped. Sprint began talking up its Xohm service in early 2008.

About the time Sprint put its plans for its Xohm WiMAX service into motion, it began to hemorrhage profits and subscribers leading to a much smaller soft launch than what Sprint had initially hoped for. USA Today reports that Sprint is finally launching its first commercial WiMAX network in Baltimore.

The Baltimore network will operate under Sprint's Xohm brand and will offer subscribers access to wireless data speeds of 2 to 4 Mbps depending on the network load. Pricing for the service is downright cheap at $10 for a day pass of unlimited use and monthly plans starting at $35 per month both without contracts.

Users needing more service can get unlimited usage for $50 per month. Any plan opted for requires a WiMAX aircard or modem that retail for $45 each. The catch to the Baltimore network is that at launch it will only serve the downtown area. This is not quite what Sprint had promised when we first heard of Xohm with promises of seamless connectivity over an entire city.

USA Today quotes Lee Mellon, a field tech from Sprint saying, "The network, which provides a lot of bandwidth, can also handle high-definition video streaming, peer-to-peer file sharing and other capacity-guzzling applications."

DailyTech reported that Sprint's oft-delayed Xohm service would be joined with Clearwire to form a company that will operate under the Clearwire brand to pursue a nationwide WiMAX network in May. Sprint promised its first commercial WiMAX network would come this fall, and for once it will be able to live up to its promises with Xohm.

Baltimore won’t be the only major city getting WiMAX networks between now and the beginning of 2009. Other cities including -- Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., Philadelphia, Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago all have WiMAX networks under construction.

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Lets go
By bobcpg on 9/29/2008 12:16:40 PM , Rating: 3
Better Late then never.

Hopefully this will drive down the rapping handed to use by Comcast and Qwest/<phone CO>. For most users 2-4Mbps is enough, even for home use.

RE: Lets go
By LTG on 9/29/2008 12:42:43 PM , Rating: 5
Comcast has rappers? Light stuff or like full Gangsta?

RE: Lets go
By ebakke on 9/29/2008 1:02:52 PM , Rating: 4
It's Comcast - full Gangsta, obviously.

RE: Lets go
By amanojaku on 9/29/2008 3:58:57 PM , Rating: 3
I tried to get initiated into Comcast, but I'm not hard core enough. I only have one roll of bubble wrap. :`(

Yo, I got myself a fanny pack
They were having a sale down at the Gap
Spend my nights with a roll of bubble wrap
Pop pop! Hope no one sees me get freaky!

Weird Al Yankovic

By Shadowself on 9/29/2008 1:31:47 PM , Rating: 1
can also handle high-definition video streaming

at 2-4 Mbps?

I laughed so hard at this I spewed coffee all over my desk and keyboard! High def (even at 720p) is not realistic at 2-4 Mbps (and, personally, I would not call 720p true hi-def). Sure, for talking heads in front of a static background, maybe. But not for generic, moving imagery -- and definitely not for high motion imagery.

RE: Hyperbole
By sxr7171 on 9/29/2008 1:42:03 PM , Rating: 1
Well that sort of hyperbole is nothing new. Like Microsoft saying those Xbox 360 downloads are high definition. Anyone who offers HD downloads is pretty much lying. The resolution may be considered HD but that in and of itself does not define the term.

RE: Hyperbole
By therealnickdanger on 9/29/2008 2:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
The resolution may be considered HD but that in and of itself does not define the term.

Actually... yes it does. Like it or not, the only qualification for "high-definition" is that video exceeds 480p (and equivalent standards). No regard is given for compression ratio, framerate, or scan method (i vs. p) within the qualification. I wish this wasn't the case, but it is, so you (like the rest of us) are going to have to deal with sub-standard HD programming.

2-4Mbps is sufficient for HD-streaming, but depending upon the compression, you may have to wait for half the movie to be downloaded before you can start to watch it. Once I was torrenting something massive on my Comcast cable connection and I had to wait 15 minutes before streaming a Live HD rental...

RE: Hyperbole
By Spectator on 9/29/2008 2:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
lol 2-4Mbs !!.

I thought Blue Ray was consumers general Idea of HD?.. that Media can handle upto 48Mbs. that is proper HD?.

How da fook does 2-4mb even come close to HD when compared to 48Mbs.

Am I missing something?.. 50gig Blue Ray movie down a 2-4Mb connection; to watch in real time :)


RE: Hyperbole
By omnicronx on 9/29/2008 2:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
Am I missing something? This article never mentions streaming full movies at 1080p.. You would be lucky to do that over a 100/BT network. Never did anyone promise the transmission of full 1080p video over wireless.

RE: Hyperbole
By TheFace on 9/29/2008 9:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
They're just commenting on a comment. All just drivel you can skip if you don't care much for streaming "HD" content. Their main conjecture is what qualifies as HD.

RE: Hyperbole
By toyotabedzrock on 9/29/2008 5:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
HD is usually handed to the Cable/Telco at just under 20mb, and is usually compressed down to 10mb. Att is starting to use MPEG4-AVC to bring that down to 5mb. And thats for 1080i so 720p would fit in the 4mb cap easy.

RE: Hyperbole
By FITCamaro on 9/29/2008 2:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
My TV is 720p and I love it. You can hop on the Sony marketing that anything not 1080p isn't true HD all you want. But it looks great and I'm perfectly happy with it. Plus at the time I bought it, it was a steal.

By zolo111 on 9/30/2008 6:00:33 AM , Rating: 2
How reliable is WiMAX tech for say online FPS gaming? latency? Sustained dl/ul speed..etc?

By Klober on 9/30/2008 12:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
WiMAX should be just fine for latency - my guesstimate is sub-200ms without a problem, quite possibly much less. Sustained dl/ul should go approximately with the quoted rates from XOHM (2-4Mbps dl/0.5-1.5Mbps ul), with likely higher speeds on average than the actual quoted rates (goibng by the quote low and provide higher mentality - customers don't mind better than quoted speed but freak out when speed is lower).

This is like a combination of cable and DSL, but wireless. It's like cable in that there are no contracts and it's a somewhat shared-bandwidth network, and it's like DSL in that the farther you get from the tower (hub for DSL) the lower your speeds will be (I know, greatly simplified). If you have good reception you shouldn't have to worry about bandwidth.

Take this with a grain of salt as I haven't experienced it personally, but suffice it to say I have very good sources. ;)

Cheers to Baltimore!!
By HighWing on 9/29/2008 12:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
As a resident in the Baltimore Area, I must say I am surprised that we are actually getting to try something first. However, I am curious just how big of an area they consider to be "downtown"? That could either make or break it, as this means they are mostly likely limited to business users and tourists.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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