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mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

Clear vs. Energy Efficient Windows (Motorola Modem)

I signed up for Clear today (Dallas/Ft. Worth) and bought the Motorola standalone modem (box says motorla WiMAX CLEAR Modem, Wave 2, CPEi 25150). I took it home and hooked it all up and started doing speed tests. With the modem perched on my window sill, I got 1 bar, occassionally 2 bars. With the window open and the modem untouched, I got 5 bars. Here are the speedtests:

Closed window



Opened window



I was on the phone with tech support for over an hour trying all sorts of different things, but the clear verdict was that my windows were causing massive signal disruption. The windows are very energy efficient. My electric bills are usually under $30/month for my 750 sq. ft. apartment and considering I have tons of electronics, I can thank those windows for some good savings...but when it comes to WiMax, they are a killer.

Clear is planning to send a tech out here to help troubleshoot and come up with a solution. Otherwise, I'll have to cancel and go back to using Time Warner :\

Does anyone else have experience with this Motorola modem and energy efficient windows?


LVNeptune

join:2008-03-02
Henderson, NV

You'd figure opening the Windows would assist in the RF signal going through...I have EE Windows at home and the signal inside is non-existant.

If I step outside I get good signal.
--
IT Related Blogging »www.michaelgossett.me


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

That's what I'm saying...the results above show the EE windows are completely blocking the signal. Like I said, window open = 5 bars and good speeds. Window closed = 1 bar and very slow speeds


Automate

join:2001-06-26
Atlanta, GA
reply to mobbo

What kind of signal do you get if you move the modem away from the window and let the signal come through a wall or maybe an exterior door of your home?


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

It fluctuates between 1-2 bars, with still a bad speedtest result. Unfortunately the vast majority of my outer-facing wall is energy efficient windows (pool view).


phaqu

join:2005-05-26
Marietta, GA
reply to mobbo

It might have something to do with the Low-E rating on the windows you have. Low-E glass blocks radiation from the sun and could be blocking the radio signal from your tower.



xrayman

join:2008-12-09
Kansas City
kudos:1
reply to mobbo

Most Low E windows use a super thin layer of Silver molecules to reflect heat waves. They do a good job of stopping hi-frequency radio waves also.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

Sweet! I can take off my tin foil hat now

This really sucks though. I wanted Clear to work so I could dump Time Warner completely. This also seems like a pretty HUGE problem for WiMax, don't you think? If Clear hopes to be a contender for home-based broadband, they'll need to come up with maybe an outdoor antenna or something. I could put my Clear modem outside my window, but it's defintely not waterproof or UV rated. I would predict a massive problem for Clear customers living in apartments with EE windows or new/renovated homes with efficient windows. Clear is flat out unusable in my apartment with the windows closed.


Automate

join:2001-06-26
Atlanta, GA

1 edit
reply to mobbo

I think they need to come out with a modem in a weatherproof box that supports PoE (Power over Ethernet). Running one Cat5 cable is a lot better than running 110VAC or expensive/lossy antenna cables.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

ABSOLUTELY!!

A tech came out yesterday evening to test my apartment himself. He got the same results using his laptop USB modem as well. It was much more pronounced with his because the signal meter has more bars. Closed window = 1 bar, Open window = 7 bars.

I asked if they planned to offer an mountable outside antenna, and he said he was not aware of any at the moment. But he did say I was one of a large number of people with the same problem. Almost every new house and/or apartment is built with energy efficient measures, like the windows I have. WiMAX CANNOT penetrate these.

Clear MUST understand this and start coming up with an easy solution ASAP, such as an outside, weatherproof modem with PoE. I cannot imagine a successful service launch without it...and they need to adapt QUICKLY, especially in my part of town. The good thing is, the technicians are aware of it, and hopefully the people making the decisions will listen and move quickly.


vinnie97
Premium
join:2003-12-05
US
kudos:1

Mobbo, according to your avatar, you already have the best "landline" service available in the form of FIOS. Why do you need Clear? Given that I'm in an area hampered by AT&T/TWC, Clear seems like a decent alternative, if I can get decent transmission.


mobbo

join:2005-04-13
Denton, TX

Don't have FiOS anymore. I moved away from Denton to be closer to my office. I now live in an apartment contracted w/ Time Warner Cable for service. I can get AT&T DSL if I want, but I hate AT&T with a burning passion, so they will not be receiving my money.

When I buy my first house in the next year or two, FiOS availability will be a huge requirement. I LOVED having FiOS.


radiorange

join:2009-07-13

Same problem here with EE windows.

Agree that Clear is shortsighted not to provide for a way to connect an outside antenna.

Two solutions I've come up with:

1. I put the modem in a plastic back and insert the modem between the screen and the window. Where the window would normally close at the window seal, I put towels and cotton to make a seal and allow the cables to come out.

2. I put the modem in one of those small plastic file folder carriers with a handle on it. Got it at Office Depot. Clear sides, black top. Get something clear.

A friend went more stationary. He had to not only get the modem outside, but also mount it up in the air on a mast. He used a small white garbage can, added u-bolts for mast attachment, and turned garbage can upside down, and bought a Power Over Ethernet kit so he would only have to run one cable (rather than the additional power cord like I did).