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Tech Review: Clear 4G Wireless Internet

A little over a month ago we switched our internet provider from AT&T DSL to Clear 4G Wireless Internet. I couldn’t be happier.

The service we were getting from AT&T was supposed to be 1Mbps download, but it was generally more like 768Kbps. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but in today’s world of streaming video, every little bit counts. We couldn’t stream a video from Netflix to the Apple TV without it pausing every five minutes to buffer. It was quite frustrating.

I had done some research and found that Clear would be a good choice for us. Our house happens to sit just about in the middle of two of their cell towers, so we get a pretty good signal. There’s no hard installation to the house (no phone or coax cable), just a wireless modem that we sat on the desk by a window (the best spot to get a good signal).

After we got the modem set up and were up and running, I immediately pointed my browser to to see what kind of improvement we’d made over AT&T. It wasn’t a huge improvement, but it was significant. I routinely check our speeds and get results of 4 – 6Mbps. The lowest I’ve ever seen was around 2Mbps, which is still more than twice what I was getting with AT&T.

Streaming Netflix through the AppleTV is much better now with no pausing to buffer. YouTube videos load much faster, my pictures upload faster, everything is much faster.

There was one little problem that we noticed shortly after we set everything up. Every once in a while, we would lose our connection. We would have to log into the modem and force it to reconnect. It seemed to happen at random times. Some days I would have to reconnect ten or fifteen times, some days not at all. It seemed to be completely random. After a frustrating few days of having to reset the connection what seemed like a gazillion times, I hit the web and started to search for other users who had a similar problem.

I came across a post in a support forum from someone having the same exact problem we were having. In one of the responses, a user suggested moving the modem further away from the wireless router. Our router was sitting right next to our modem. I moved the modem about four feet away from the router, and haven’t had to reset the connection once. And, since I moved the modem higher up on a shelf, we seem to be getting even faster speeds. Bonus!

Now, I’ve read a lot of reports on the web about how terrible Clear’s customer support is. I haven’t had to call them yet, so I can’t say whether they’re good or bad. I can say that if you live in their coverage area and want a better ISP, Clear is definitely a good option.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this review by Clear or any other company. These opinions are my own and have not been influenced by anyone.