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dbrown
May 02, 2013

What download speeds will WiMAX support?

I was thinking of switching my carrier, and Sprint has the cheapest plan that would meet my needs. However, I'm in a WiMAX coverage area, and I'm a little worried about network speeds and reliability. I was hoping that someone who has used WiMAX could give me an idea of how fast (slow?) it is in actual use.

jimlynch
05/03/2013
Here's a good overview of WiMax:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiMAX

"WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless communications standard designed to provide 30 to 40 megabit-per-second data rates,[1] with the 2011 update providing up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations. The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL".[2]"
r
rcook12
05/03/2013

I have used Sprint's network before, and it can be pretty slow. You will never see those 30-40Mbps speeds that are theoretically possible. I agree with the article Christopher quoted; you will probably experience about 3Mbps download speeds on Spint WiMAX. It's good enough for most use, and you can stream Netflix or music with no problems. If you travel much, though, you will see Spint's real weakness - super slow 3G. I would regularly experience 3G download speeds in the 250-350Kbps range, which is barely useful. 

C
Christopher Nerney
05/03/2013

I haven't used WiMAX -- and hopefully someone who has will weigh in -- but I found this interesting article about WiMAX vs. LTE:

 

"The version of WiMAX Sprint uses should deliver 30-40Mbps download speeds, and LTE can deliver up to 100Mbps. In the real world, though, they achieve nothing like those speeds. That's because a network's performance depends much more on how it's built than on the specs of the underlying technology.

 

"Our Fastest Mobile Networks results tell the tale. In our tests across the country, Sprint's WiMAX averaged about 3Mbps down, and it's currently capped to 1.5Mbps up. That's slower than most home broadband. Verizon's LTE network tripled that download speed to 9.46Mbps average, although uploads averaged about 1.35Mbps. That's roughly as fast as many home broadband packages."

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