Acerbic Resonance

There’s no substitute for a good subtitle.

Clear Internet – A Review

Warning:  Technical (and whiny) content follows.  My regular readers may wish to stop reading now….

Recently I began to shop around looking for a cheaper and / or better way to handle my home phone and internet services. I called the big boys in my area (CableOne, Qwest) but was not thrilled with their pricing. Then I heard about Clear – formerly ClearWire.

Clear has several stores very near me, so after I went to their website ( and looked into their pricing and packages, I visited my local clear store to get answers to specific questions. The gentleman I spoke with there claimed that he was one of the “on site techs” who would be able to answer any technical questions I had – so I threw some at him. I used words like latency, antenna gain, signal to noise ratio, static IP address, etc.  He handled them all with ease.  The 2 main items I needed to verify with him were:

  1. Does Clear offer a static IP address to their home customers?
  2. Can I use my static IP to run things like a mailserver, webserver, code repository, etc.

I was assured that for an extra 10 bucks / month I could have a static IP, and that there were no restrictions for how I used the connection.  I could host my own hardware and set up whatever sort of internal network I wanted.

So, a few days later I called them to sign up.  The salesperson was very courteous on the phone, and again assured me that there were no restrictions and that I could have a static IP.  So, I placed the order for both an internet connection and phone service.  The equipment arrived the very next day, and I plugged it into my laptop that evening to do a speedtest and check out how well it worked.

Here are my initial impressions:

  1. The salespeople seemed to be knowledgeable and friendly, and did not mind my somewhat difficult technical questions.
  2. The delivery of the equipment was as fast as I could possibly have hoped for, and it was free.  Kudos for that.
  3. The performance of the connection at my house was really quite good.  Using several speed test utilities (my favorite lately is I consistently recorded speeds of 10ish Mb down / 1Mb up, which is the package I ordered.  My only complaint is that the latency was not fantastic, but any wireless connection will have poorer latency than a wired connection.  The best ping time I ever saw was around 85ms, the typical ping time was around 170ms.
  4. I did try placing the radio in several different locations in my house, and found that an upstairs bedroom near the window provided the best reception for the radio and best connection performance.  This posed a problem for me, as my other networking equipment (server stuff, router, UPS, backup drives, etc) are all located in a purpose-built climate controlled room in my garage.  So I had to cut a hole in my wall to get to the attic, then another hole in the ceiling of the room in my garage to get an ethernet cable from the back of my router to the Clear modem.

So far, things were looking great.  I was going to be able to get a seriously faster home internet connection as well as dump the local phone company and save a few bucks overall each month.  I eagerly waited for time to start the networking transition for all my domains etc at home.  A few days later I finally had a free evening I could use to rearrange everything.  Since I run my own linux server at home to host my personal domains (like this one!) I had to change a bunch of routing rules, firewall rules, dns records, physical connections from device to device, etc.  The whole process should have taken about an hour or so.  And, within an hour or so I had most things switched over to the new Clear connection and working fine.  I could browse the web from inside my house.  I could check mail (both internal and external), SSH was working fine, etc.

Then I tried to access my website from an external host, and discovered that the connection was never made. I started to comb through all the various items I changed looking for an error.  DNS records were correct.  Firewall rules were right.  Routing tables were all correct.  Web server was up and working, as I could hit it from internal hosts.

Oh crap (I thought) – it appears that Clear is blocking port 80 at the modem.

Further research revealed that Clear does indeed block port 80 at the modem, contrary to what both sales persons claimed.

So, today I had to cancel my Clear service – and I was really very disappointed to have to do so.  The performance of the connection was great, the sales and support staff with whom I interacted seemed knowledgeable and courteous, their shipping speed and ease of setup was great – but for some reason they have decided to disable what is possibly the single most important aspect of an internet connection to me.

This has apparently been an issue for some time for them, much to the ire of many potential customers in a similar boat to me: a request for bridge mode capability in the Motorola modem is the number one request on their user forums:

There has not been much of a response from Clear about why on earth they would block things this way – when I chatted with one of their support reps on their website after I discovered the issue, I was told that changing the block on port 80 would void the warranty on the modem, though I’ve read elsewhere on the nets that hosting a webserver specifically violates their TOS.  They don’t care if you host a mail server, irc box, secure webstore, or any other type of service – just nothing is allowed on port 80.  This makes about as much sense to me as saying that if I decide to take the lid off the jar of peanut butter in my pantry I’ll wind up interrupting power to my upstairs bedrooms.

There is an even bigger issue here than just for folks like me who want to run their own servers:  it’s the ugly beast known as the “double NAT“.  See, since their “modem” is actually functioning as a router, any traffic that goes from the inside of your house to the outside has to go through a Network Address Translation, or NAT.  This works fine if you only have one router.  However, if you have your own home router already, plugging in this modem will force NAT to happen both at your router and then again at the Clear modem.  This will cause all kinds of mainstream services to fail.  A few off the top of my head:

  • Back To My Mac
  • Netflix Streaming
  • Many Online Games
  • Many VPNs or Remote Login Solutions such as GoToMyPC
  • Anything that requires uPNP or other auto-discovery of network topology

In my case, I could deal with the double NAT, but a fully locked port 80 is the game killer.  Your case may be different.

In summary:  I really do wish I could recommend Clear to anyone interested in dumping the local big boys, but until they ship a modem that is really a modem (not a router) I cannot.

Clear – please put me on your mailing list for the big announcement of an actually usable connection.


40 responses to “Clear Internet – A Review”

  1. Hey. I saw your post on dslreports and followed you over here to read more, because you are in Houston and I am in Baytown (aka East Houston to some). You wrote a very thorough critique and it appears you know what you are talking about and then some. I’m sorry that you did not find what you needed from Clear.

    Listen, I wonder if you would be kind enough to give me your opinion on whether you would stay with Clear IF you had MY circumstances. My husband Mike and I have Comcast Basic cable and we are in our 50’s. I like to watch MadMen on AMC and we were ticked off when we had to get the black box to watch it. We have one desktop computer and we each have a laptop. We are not Apple folks at all (except for Mike’s iPod to listen to music). We have Verizon cell phones.

    Right now we cannot get internet on the laptops because neither can see the network connect thru a Linksys wireless router, that used to work fine until we had an internet cable outage the other day and the Comcast people said they had to reset my router that is not even theirs? I thought at the time they meant modem (which is theirs), but now I’m wondering if they went to MAC addressing — I’ve got to call them and ask, and that’s off topic, but still, an example of the CRAP nonsense tedium alive in so-called idiot-proof cable. (Setting up the black box was a comedic torture that is best forgotten, and I stupidly did not set it up through the dvd player, so I’ll have to be revisiting that soon – ugh.)

    My interest in Clear is that it appears to me that the hotspot thingy is indeed a modem and a router combined, and in my book I would love that. I do not have a need to host my own web server, I just want to check my email and surf to wherever in the heck I feel like it. I also want to back up my photos and art files to my Carbonite account. Comcast may boast lightning speed, but there are many times when it’s so dang slow you could walk next to it.

    For the future, we were looking at getting into Netflix and also getting a Wii for exercise and for downloading the Netflixes. I also wonder if Clear would fare better or worse after a hurricane hits, since it’s a wireless connection? I suppose we’d need a household generator for electricity for it…

    I’d appreciate any input you graciously provide. We were talking the other day that it’s 2010 and all internet should be accessed through the air by now, and if you do not have a subscription then you wouldn’t be able to receive the signal. All this line crap is soooooo old. I’m tired of them milking the old model for residual profit. At what point are they spanked on the butt and told to get on with it? LOL Guess this is what comes of reading my Wired magazines too closely, but seriously….xoxo, Aimeslee

    1. I’m actually in the Boise, ID area, not TX, but the Clear service is the same in all their markets. For your situation, Clear *might* be a good choice, under the following conditions:

      Pricing: I do not know what Clear’s pricing is for their mobile service, if you can bundle things together for multiple computers in your house, if each computer will have to share your allotted bandwidth, etc. You’ll need to check with them to find out – but I suspect that pricing may become an issue with the 3 computers that you mention.

      Signal Strength: I happen to live very close to a brand new WiMax tower that Clear just put up, so when I tested their service initially I had very good reception on the top floor of my house near a window on the wall closest to the tower. Downstairs in a room with no windows the signal (and resulting speed) was reduced significantly. Your mileage will vary, of course, and you won’t know until you try their equipment.

      Simplicity: For typical internet users such as yourselves, Clear has attempted to make it as easy as possible to do what you describe. You’ll run into problems if you have any sort of home network with a router or if you want to host any services such as a webserver. If you steer clear of this, though, you should have little problem, assuming you can get a good signal.

      So, to be fair, they are probably worth at least trying. I was quite upset with them because their sales staff misrepresented what I was permitted to do with their service, and I did not discover the restriction until after I cut holes in walls to accommodate putting their modem/router combo upstairs away from my other networking equipment. I’m further frustrated with their return policy – they are insisting on pro-rating the few days that I used (3, I think) to test and attempt to set up my connection, and have still not sent me (been nearly 10 days now) the return shipping labels for my equipment so I can get the rest of my refund.

      Best of luck to you!

  2. I’m not sure why you’d say any of the services listed would have a problem with a double NAT. Configured properly, you can run those services through as many NATs as you want. I’m currently running an AT&T DSL modem that NATs to and have a wireless router plugged into that which NATs to (the AT&T wireless is incompatible with Windows 7 and I didn’t want to shell out for a new modem). My development network is DMZ’d off the second router to for a “triple NAT”. Both the second NAT and the DMZ have Cisco VPN connections, play WoW and Starcraft. The DMZ has an XBox 360, and the second NAT has a Wii, both of which have no problem streaming Netflix.

    1. The key is in the “configured properly” part of your assertion above. I agree that N-NAT should be no problem, provided proper configuration… however, the vast majority of consumers are incapable of correctly configuring their devices, and in the case of Clear, the device I received *could not* be configured properly… They had purposely broken it.

  3. Kimball,

    I looked into the latency issue. I’m using sprint 4g. It goes from my laptop to the phone (3ms) to the next hop (no response), over sprints network and 100ms later I pop out of in Maryland on the third hop for some reason. Probably something about the network still in beta or something. From my gaming days I recall that going this distance, from UT to MD will cost 100ms or more, the light traveling in fiber alone is 14ms ( Technically it shouldn’t have latency issues and I’d expect if my traffic was routed locally the next-hop latency would be 10ms or so.


  4. Well, I looked at your posting date hoping this was a couple of years ago and they’d had time to “correct” this, but it’s quite recent. Like you, I run my own Linux server at home (SME-Server) with webmail and such. Blocking port 80 may not be bad for my use since I don’t run a full webserver but that still doesn’t make me happy. It’d be a lot of workarounds to make it click.

    Thanks for the info. It answered my questions.

  5. I was ready to give Clear a try, but then I read your article. 🙁 I don’t run a webserver, am network-savvy (so I could deal with configuring my own router/double NAT, but the fact that Clear chooses to block port 80 at the modem makes NO sense to me.

    If they are concerned about about congestion, they should just put bandwidth limits in the contract, and meter any overage with (reasonable) extra charges. I mean, what difference does it make if I’m running multiple media streams 24×7 but not using incoming port 80? It’s all just bits.

    That said, Clear’s current charge for home internet and one USB adapter is $60/month. That’s pretty attractive.

  6. I recently obtained Clear purposely for streaming video from different places on their 4G network in Corpus Christi, TX. Their upload of 1Mb was sufficient for a 384k stream and initially the 4Mb download was well worth it for the first few days. Then the download speed dropped to below 1. Calling tech support I was told that there was an ‘unusually high’ usage in the area and that it will be back up to speed in a few hours. I was suspicious of the answer but took their word for it. Next day, same thing. Speed test results made me feel I was being throttled, so I did a Google search for throttle and Clear Wireless and found I was being throttled as well as a lawsuit and Clear financial troubles. As 4G spreads with other companies, do you see them ‘throttling’ their PC cistomers in order to sustain the amount of traffic in their network? Except for a $2500/month backpack, my portable upload streaming solutions are nil without 4G.

  7. Kareem Ahmed Avatar
    Kareem Ahmed

    I own a cell phone store in the Nashville area. A while back a clear representative came in trying to sell me on becoming an authorized dealer. I agreed to meet with her and honestly her pitch sold me. There commission structure was one of the best I had seen, the upfront dealer costs of $1000 were cheap compared to other companies, a large percentage of that money went to purchasing promotional items, and she made the service sound solid.

    One of the prerequisites of becoming a Clear dealer is that you have to purchase there service on a take 3 plan with a 2 year contract. I had no problem with this, if I am to sell there product I should be using it. I was told the service was unlimited with no cap in the 4G bandwidth. I was also told that if I wanted to buy out of my contract I would only have to pay 2 months of service.

    After purchasing Clear, and becoming a authorized dealer I was pleasantly surprised with the service. My speeds were really fast, I was streaming full movies with no problems, and I was saving money since I was supplying Internet to my store and my home on the same plan.
    After about a month of service I started to experience the nightmare of Clear. My speeds had dropped dramatically, and the service was unbearable. When it worked it would take minutes to open the simplest of pages. I remember one time where I timed it and it took 1 min 32 seconds to open Craigslist!

    As a dealer I tried to contact a representative to find out what was happening with my account. For the life of me I could not talk to a customer representative. The first few times I called I gave up after waiting for about 45 minutes.
    After finally buckling down, determined to talk to a rep, I finally reached one after being on hold for a hour and a half. After another half hour of being given the run around they finally admitted to throttling my speed. I was furious. When I tried to cancel my account I was told my termination fees were close to $300. Way more than my rep quoted me on.

    The first month I had Clear my rep was helping me to sell it. I sold it to three customers before my account was throttled making back approximately half the money I spent to become a Clear dealer.

    After my web was throttled I would no longer sell it to my customers. I actually had a few customers come in specifically to buy Clear and I talked them out of it. I make about $300 a customer that I am able to get on a 2 year contract. I threw this money away because I am a firm believer in believing in what you sell.
    Also, at about the same time our account began to get throttled, the rep that sold us clear was laid off due to Clears massive cutbacks. The new rep that replaced her, I had never met.

    Clear stole $1000 from me with false promises. Additionally they also are continuing to get $83 from me per month because I am unable to terminate the service. I have since wrote my rep and explained to him my opinions and in turn they terminated my dealer privileges. which is all in good as I would not sell there service anyway.
    I keep the Clear sign in my store window so that if someone comes in inquiring about it I can save them the nightmare that is Clear. You would think that if there was any customer that they would not throttle it would be there dealers as they are representing them. However they lack the common business sense to do that.

    Do yourself a favor, if you run into a salesman that is trying to sell you Clear, run as far aways as possible as fast as you can. They are a crook company that should not be allowed to continue to do business.

    A actual ex-Clear dealer

    1. Kareem i too am a former sales rep for clear i got throttled after only 48hrs of using the service and my wife was promisede 60 a month with no other fees i figured lets sign up since we sell it. we got our bill and they charged us 80 bucks my rep also promised us 6 months half off when asked why no discount he said it was a cq issue and he had no clue why. i spent the last week telling customers to stay away since this a crooked company i was terminated today and am following the class action suit against them stay away from MPLS clear reps they are the worst they all came from the ID market where they killed all sales there and are doing the same in MPLS

  8. Garth Ogle Avatar
    Garth Ogle

    Stern warning if you’re getting VOIP with them. Verizon botched up and didn’t tell me that I had to wait to cancel service until they had transferred the number from CLEAR. CLEAR deleted the number, and when I spoke to their digital voice they ‘couldn’t get my number back’. (their own words.) If asked, I will not recommend getting VOIP service with them to anyone. Spread the word if you wish, I’m hoping to spare someone else the hassle.

  9. Debbie Mullican Avatar
    Debbie Mullican

    I had decided to go with Clear Internet against my son’s advice, I did it anyway. I talked with a very nice girl and got everything all set up and paid what I was required to pay up front. I was to receive the modem for the desk top and a modem for my laptop that I could take anywhere. I got the package today and the modem for the laptop was not in there. I first tried to call customer service and got someone out of the USA. I asked to be transferred to someone within the US and was told that they could not transfer calls to the US. So I got online to the Clear Internet website and got on chat. after explaining everything the person on chat finally after about 30 minutes said that I would have to call customer serivce. I did and of course it was out of the USA and I talked to 7 yes you got that right SEVEN people and you got it no one could help me and the last person yes, you guessed wanted to transfer me yet to another. Needless to say I was very upset and had been on the phone with Clear Internet for over two hours. I cancelled the order and requested a return lable to send everything back and a refund. I got the email within a few hours to print a label to send it back. I will check with my credit card company to make sure that there are no other charges to my credit card. My advise! NEVER, EVER EVEN THINK ABOUT USING CLEAR INTERNET.
    Sign me definitely not a CLEAR OR HAPPY CUSTOMER.

    1. Did you get your full refund money?

      1. I received a pro-rated refund, but felt I was cheated. I never used their service for anything useful, but because I connected the modem and left it that way until the return service box arrived, they claimed I used it for all those days.

        I don’t recall exact amounts, but I do recall feeling mistreated and abused with respect to the refund.

  10. Joe Bob Avatar
    Joe Bob

    Good review, very thorough. You mentioned that you were cancelling your clear service. How did that go? I tried to cancel my free trial three months ago, and everything went wrong. The first time clear didn’t actually cancel my account, then they sent me an expired shipping label, then they sent me a working shipping label and promised there wouldn’t be any fees if I returned the equipment. Now I’m getting calls from collection agencies about the 75$ fee for late equipment return.

    Did you get out of clear alright? I’ve been dealing with them for the last three months and it’s incredibly frustrating.

    1. I did manage to get completely out of clear, but as I replied to another post, I did not get a full refund. I felt cheated.

  11. Amadeus Phoenix Avatar
    Amadeus Phoenix

    Hey im interested in buying just internet by clear. I currently have internet from cricket wireless…. Yeah the crapy no contract company and it *supossedly* gets a wopping 1.5 mbps. Im a “hardcore” gamer for the xbox360 and I just want a fast unlimited reliable connection with an Open NAT thats #1 on my list. Other then that… I would like to see more netflix stuff but i cant currently (a 1h 30min movie turns into a 4h movie). Also my I want to watch some live sreaming stuff on justin tv and just surf/troll on the web and youtube… mabye watch rvb on is this for me? ANYTHING US BETTER THAN CRICKET WIRELESS… ANYTHING

    p.s sorry for any typos im doing this on my phone

    1. No, I don’t think you will be happy with Clear. There is clear evidence that their particular network setup will cause both latency issues (translates to poor gaming performance and higher ping times) and funky NAT problems that break some streaming services. I’d look elsewhere, not only because of the overwhelmingly poor ethical performance of the company as a whole, but also because of the technical difficulties you are likely to have, based on the anecdotal evidence presented by others.

      1. Edward Flores Avatar
        Edward Flores

        My wife and I only need internet service, Skype, and internet for online classes. What would you recommend. We live in a small town. Stafford, Tx. South of Houston, Tx.
        Thanks for your help.

        1. Probably either the local cable provider or local dsl provider will be your best bet. Anything streaming (skype, netflix, etc) performs best on a network with lower latencies. DSL and Cable perform best with respect to latencies. Any service that is wireless (either radio-based or satellite-based) will have much higher latencies and reduce your performance for streaming stuff. Good luck!

          1. Hi Kimball: We have since went back to Verizon FIOS for Home because they “made us an offer we couldn’t refuse — Higher Speeds and Lower Prices). We are getting 25/25 Speeds for only $45 per month (for two years but no contract). We are enjoying the much faster speeds.

            We are still using our FreedomPop Photon HotSpot which uses Sprint’s WiMAX Network (same one that CLEAR uses). For light and occasional use, this Hot Spot is great and perfect for travel.

            All in all, I concur with your assessment about getting land-based connection such as Cable, DSL or Fiber Optic for your home’s main connection. However, for WiFi HotSpot using Wireless or Cellular connection is just fine.

  12. Patrick Avatar

    The service offered from clear is horrible- it works 50% of the time- the sales rep said there is no contract but clear is charging me $200.00 for cancelling- what a scam. Don’t EVER use clear unless you want to be lied to and scamed.

  13. Patrick Avatar

    Clear also has had me on hold for 30 min just to cancel- I am sure they just assume I will hang up so they can keep charging me a monthly fee for a service that does’t work.

  14. From what I see … CLEAR SUCKS!!! I just wanted to post that somewhere on the net… I had to get it out. I don’t do it often, but trying to deal with this company has upset me. I found it very difficult to find the info I needed about their service.

    CLEAR may be okay for the average user, but I think its engineered poorly, support sucks, their model sucks.

    I wish I’d have read this article before I bought a Series G “modem” and a USB (Sierra U250) 3G/4G modem on ebay… to play with mostly. (As I suspected, the “Sprint” branded model works on Clear just the same as their “series S.”) I need my CPE (a Cisco router in this case) to be directly assigned a public IP… port 80 being blocked doesn’t matter as much as NO NAT. I want to run either IPSec over GRE or GRE over IPSec, AND OSPF over that VPN tunnel. I have my own IP allocation that I’ll tunnel (which is how I run my DNS, SMTP, HTTP, etc servers) … I just need the last mile bandwitdh. I like my solution. I just assumed a modem meant a bridge, bummer. Wrong. Upset! Simple fix, call it a “4G Gateway” or WiMax Router, etc… NOT a MODEM.

    Mine is a very specific VPN need for surel; for most consumers it doesn’t matter as much if they have to work with NAT. However, I really do NOT understand why they insist on assigning an IP to the “modem” and forcing it to do NAT and be a GATEWAY device, vs supporting bridging like everyone else…? This is what is pissing me off. Thier solution is just so CLOSED. Also, my calls to support were horrible… I asked for a “Tier 2” but could not get anyone technical at all… so little documentation, and hard to find any info. I think it’s a poor business model to already have a limited bandwidth/performing service (distance limitations, latency, etc), and to then lock down the hardware options by trying to provide one ‘closed’ and complete solution – no options. Sure, by default offer the easy to support solution – but allow people some choices. I don’t see much value in CLEAR.

    Longer story – but I am debating a RV purchase, living from the RV for long periods while I can work remotely and travel… I am an Internet/Network Engineer… and geek, and can work ‘from home.’ In this case, I started by researching a mobile broadband solution. So I bought a MBR95 (Cradlepoint) before I thought too much about it all. It may still play a role for the RV, but it doesn’t support the IP pass-through that I’d like – not Clear’s fault. I wanted to compare the 4G/3G (U250 Series S model) with an external antenna to a 4G only “modem”, etc… figuring the modem would work at home (I much prefer the native ethernet concept), and maybe the USB with the MBR95 would be a good mobile solution. With the USB, your CPE does get the IP, but in this case that’s still not my Cisco router. The Cradlepoint is cool, just that specific model didn’t do my trick — but I like the concept anyway… USB tied to one specific computer, needing drivers — sucks. To a purpose built gateway, nice. The home link also has the purpose of a backup/redundant link to Comcast cable… which is EXPENSIVE, but a solid product … since I not only need a stable connection for my hobby servers/hosting, but also work from home and other business needs (stock trading, etc).

    Clear says my address in Denver is not servicable, I’m in some small dead zone on the map … surrouned by 4G. I wanted to test this out…. turns out I get 5 bars/ >90% signal with the Series G by a window, and 66-80% with the USB … the external antenna doesn’t seem to do much. I also figure USB adds some latency and jitter- USB wasn’t designed around packets/IP… so my hope was to use the “modem” (Series G) at home. The “modem” fails all my expectiations… all because its locked down and forces me to use it’s NAT. It breaks my solution… and they have NO ALTERNATIVE! I suppose it’s nice they err on the side of caution and say I can’t get service at my address though.

    It sounds like their static IP solution also gets assigned to the GATEWAY – and it gets NAT’d… but they just didn’t seem sure, and couldn’t explain it. Then even hung up on me once. Simple question was, do I configure the static IP myself OR do they push some config? I didn’t get an answer. I am really hoping I still get a DHCP IP, and the static is routed via that network… and that I get to configure the static IP on my CPE. Can anyone comment specifically how the static IP is engineered??? (They talk about some multi-day “propgation” period – confusing.) The techs I talked to really couldn’t explain/didn’t know. Very frustrating calling 3 times, and being transfered maybe 7 times total. One said only business accounts get static, the other said anything can. Some said only their equipment, some Intel setup did or a special modem, others said any modem. What is the truth???

    $10 a month for a static IP… UNLESS it provides a workaround for the “bridge” issue, there isn’t much value there. A nice profit model for them, pointless for me. IF it does get assigned to my CPE, then it’s worth it for me.

    … sort of makes me want to start my own ISP, and compete with crappy run/managed companies — to see if I can do it better.

    I am about to purchase a CBR450 – that does IP pass-through/bridge mode — so it can enable the USB modem to be a bridge… the CBR450 can also do GRE and IPSec natively/directly. From what I see, these Cradlepoints are pretty nice boxes… it starts to offer some options to ‘hack’ up a solution using Clear. Just requires I use USB.

    … in all, anyone aware of ANY provider that offers a BRIDGED ETHERNET modem?

    Any good ideas for last mile bandwidth? 80014

    – Shawn

  15. Hi Kimball,

    Very informative article! I am a new clear user and have opted for the USB mobile device. Which is better in terms of signal strength and speed – the USB mobile device or the modem cum router?
    I just want a good speed to download movies and or youtube stuff.


    1. I’m afraid I can’t comment on which device would be better for you – I don’t use Clear at all and I’ve heard too many horror stories from other Clear customers to even consider trying them again. Best of luck!

  16. Omg this has to be the worst internet service I’ve had since the 80s. Truly it sucks so bad that I want to pull it out of the wall and drop it kick it across the street before beating it with a bat. Ya that bad.

    The customer support was like “well maybe you need to try more area’s in the house, try the window.” Really??? Seriously? That’s their support.

    After Christmas I’m so getting rid of it and going with a quality service.

    GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 50.00 bucks a month for this CRAP!

  17. I had signed up with CLEAR back in Jul 2011 after responding to one of their mail campaigns. I called their one of reps, the rep was very courteous and signed me up very quickly. The speed at my home was very average ( < 5 MB download). I had decided to cancel the service so called CLEAR for cancellation. To my surprise they told me that there will be an early termination fee of $88 since I was on a two year contract. When I had signed up for the service the rep did not mention anything about the contract nor I was going to bind myself to a contract. Even the welcome email showed nothing about the contract. I really had to spent over thirty minutes arguing with the CLEAR supervisor and asked them to produce an evidence where I had signed up for the two year contract which they failed to do so. My service is canceled now and so and it is still yet to be seen if the cancellation charges show up on my credit card bill. If they do I'll be going to the small court claims. I will not recommend CLEAR to anyone due to SUB PAR SPEED AS WELL AS THE DUBIOUS PRACTICE OF SIGNING UP CUSTOMERS FOR LONG TERM CONTRACTS without their knowledge. If you still do sign up be EXTRA CAREFUL and ask them to email you the contract and the services you have subscribed for with all the terms and conditions clearly listed.

  18. Clear is a worst than you can ever think….! I went to the store and they had a promotion $10 for any of their equipment , one month free trial and they also seid ” NO CONTRACT “….!
    I was so soupriced, about the ” with clear you don’t have a contract” you can cancel the service any time and u will not get a termination fee…

    I deside to get their service.. And you know wath happen after a month..?

    The speed was getting very bad. I had to reset the moden or unplug the power cable every time in order to get a connection.

    After all this headache I deside to cancell the service. And u want to know what happened..?

    They told me I’m under a contract and I have to pay a cencellation fee ( lot of money of course) I said to them .. when did I sing up a contract with them..? I don’t remember.. I went to the store and they told me I never will get a contract and I have NOT receibe any paper printed that I singning a contract with them.. were is it..?

    They told me that went I turn on the modem for the first time and open the browser for the first time you will see a “I agree button” and you press it.. that is when u sing a contract with them… WHAT A STUPID AND DIRTY WAY TO MAKE BUSSINESS WITH PEOPLE….!

    You have to press the button anyways because if you don’t press it you can’t go anywere..! You can’t get in to the internet with out pressing this button.

    Whay they do that..? Whay they promess and afirm that there is no contract and went you go online for the first time u are forsed to get into a contract..

    But u know what…?

    I’m a old street dog,,, I know every trick , every corner , every move from companies like this one, every time I make business with any cellphone company , internet or eny type of service were my name and my money is in game, I never losse, when the sales man is talking to me, I’m laughing inside of me because they think they are professionals and they think they are geting another sale or another stupid person into the bussiness and what they don’t know that they are dealing with one of the worst client ever… lol. Jajaja

    So here is the final desition… I told the representative… listen..! You have a choose , You fix this stupid service and delete the contract form the system, and don’t charge anything for the router, I wll pay what the person in the store told me, and I can cancel werever I want… OR you losse the customer the money from me for future service and you losse the equipment.. because if you want to playe games with me I’m a better player than you,.

    He was almost laughing of me… I said to him.. I paid with a prepaid debit card, pipaid debit cards don’t have records of names and address, you don’t have any information from me, everithing you have in the system is invalid…! I just want service in the nice way, I will pay for it .. I may have clear for years if you make me happy , but if you come with stupid things and dirty games… this is my deal..

    The representative told me, I’m very very sorry that you are not happy with our service let me see what I can do for you, i m going to put in hold for 2 minutes pleas ewait in the line..

    After 2 minutes he come to the pho and say.. I’m going to give u one month free internet plus I’m going to give you 6 months of internet trial at $19 at month, you don’t have a contract with us. U can cancel anytime and call us for sending a prepaid shipping label for the modem..

    JaJaJa.. I said to him.. now you understand what I told you 20 minutes ago.. ” I never losse”…?
    He ignorme and say.. is there something als I can help you..? I say No.. and he say “thank you for choosing clear and for doing bussiness with us and have a wanderful day”. Jaja

    I’m 33 years old, and I did not spend my time in earth sleeping.. I always get things in my way.. I don’t belive in contracts for any company, not because the the contracts are invalid, I make them invalid in my way, I helped all my family to get off from contracts from sprint, tmobile and others like it.. Everything is invalid if you want to make it invalid, contracts like veryzon with your own name and information can be void with the correct words like “you are moving out of the country or many many other things.” Cellphones can be unloked if you know what to say and what to do..

    I just want everyone to tell.. You are human and have a brain, use it..! Don’t let people use you and walk in top of you… if peoples and corporations walk in top of you is because you let them do it, not because they can.. you make the word aroud at your way, and thing has to be done at your way only..

    This is the problem in america, almost everyone live from a paycheck, pay for services, live in a system created from big corporations, pay here and pay there, its like they live in a room and never went out to se the light.
    This is why big corporations exist and they put any price to their services, because they already kno that americans are ready to pay for it, everyone think that contracts and prices are correct and all this in part of the normal life..

    Things out of america are: no contracts, unlimited incoming calls for free, you pay one dollar for a prepaid cellphone card and get all the incoming calls for free, video conference on cellphones sance 7 years ago, color screen cellphones sance 1999 or early 2000.. unlimited internet, over 30mb of internet speed.. whay all this happen? Because here peoples pay for internet spedd not for the service, here peoples pay for limited data not for service,, but everyone thing that we are paying for internet service… I don’t know why.

    If you are ready to be scrw up,, There will be always someone or some company that will scrw you, because that is wath you want it and that is what you like it..

    Stop to cry and say ” why this company did this to me” and face it…! You did this to your own self because this is what you like it…..!

    1. Erudite Avatar

      That was the most intellectual rant I have ever read…

    2. TheFrog Avatar

      I don’t know who you are, but your insight should be eched in stone.
      This IS what makes America great.

      (I realize this is a really late comment, but I don’t care)

  19. I am very disappointed with my services from Clear. Every month for the last 5 months there have been issues with the service. It seems around the same time of the month right before billing there is always a system outage or we are experiencing problems in your area. Well yesterday I came home to find that my phone and internet services were not working properly. I called in explained the issue, was asked to unplug the router and phone connectors to figure out what the problem was. After 35mins of being on the phone with the customer service rep she then tells me that I called in at 7:49am to disconnect my services. I explained that I didn’t call in and that there seemed to be a security breach. I rely on having a home phone for my children and I use the internet when I need to bring my work from home to work on in the evenings as well as stream Netflix because I refuse to pay high cable bills, phone and internet, so Clear was a reasonable choice. So the customer service rep said that she can restore my internet, but can not restore my phone service because they said in October that if you canceled your phone services you were not able to have them turned back on. I went back in forth with the rep to explain that I didn’t call until the evening to find out what was going on with my services. At 7:49am, like most working folks I was on my way to work rushing to be on time at 8am. Now I am without a home phone for my children. I am also very uncertain if I will keep the internet on with Clear. My next billing date is not until the 15th of the month, so I’m wondering if they will try to charge me for cancellation fees for the telephone and also charge me for both phone and internet services. Needless to say, I am very disappointed with their services. It is a clear choice to me to stay clear from Clear! It really concerns me that she didn’t have me verify any of my account information until I was on the phone with her till after 30mins. I will be reporting them to the Better Business Bureau.

  20. Winston Steward Avatar
    Winston Steward

    I ordered Clear internet wireless mobile for myself in a large metropolitan southern California Area. They took 106 dollars out of my account to pay for the modem. The modem never came. I called after two weeks, and gave a second address. They said they would send the modem for sure this time. Two more weeks, I called. It never came. They then said they cannot give me a refund for the modem that never came, invited me to close my account and go away. They said I would not be issued a refund.

  21. philip wayne Avatar
    philip wayne

    I will NEVER recommend these company at all!
    They rip my off for more than a year, product does not work like promised.
    Every where I go they never work thou they claim the device to work all over the United States? The worse… they will post more than what agreed ($19.00) they posted MORE and MOre ( they were thief and liars).
    They advertised $19.00 a month with no contract… IT”S A LIE !!!!
    They will threaten you for penalty and claim you are in a 2 year contract?
    THEY WERE ALL LAIRS AND CROOK… they refuses to refund what they have illegally taken from me?

  22. My fiancé and I purchased their router because we didn’t want to be stuck in a contract. We purchased the 3mb package figuring that we really didn’t need anything faster. After a few days Icheck our spec and it was barely 1mb. I decided we should try the 12mb package and maybe it will pick things up. $50 on month still sounded better than the Xfinity package. Anywho, our speed picked up until a few days later when it dropped back down to 1mb. We’ve called clear a few times now and they said that 4mb is the minimum for that package and give us the usual “unplug, change location in house” crap. I keep a daily log showing my speed results from and keep a log of the name of the representative and what they told me over the phone. I just filed a small claims case against them in Portland OR for six months of service not meeting their own speed minimums, plus a refund for the modem we purchased so we wouldn’t have to get stuck in a contract.

    Keep track of your speed results, and log everything they say to you over the phone. It is admissible evidence in court! I was able to sue Sprint for almost a year of phone service because their internet was not functioning in an area their own pamphlets claimed to be covered. RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS!!! You can call and bitch all you want, but it will get you NOWHERE if you don’t keep a log of whats said with the name of the rep.. RECORDS RECORDS RECORDS!!!

  23. macrimmon Avatar

    Wow, lots of hate directed at Clear – I can only say that their service to me has been exemplary. Same as most people I got a great service rep who started the service, but I never had the downhill ride after the fact.

    The only other ISPs I can get where I am are Comcast and AT&T Uverse – Uverse speeds are horrible (I am as far from the local node as you can get) and Comcast – well, its Comcast. Frequent lapses in service, several dead modems, bad CS, throttling, and the constant mailers that keep reminding me how much cheaper the same service would be if I were a new customer.

    In the year I’ve been with Clear, I have had only one issue – apparently, once you are enrolled you can’t pay over the phone, has to be payed through the website (a major pain if your PC is dead). Had to go to the public library to pay my bill to keep my VOIP running.

    I don’t dispute that lots of people have probably been screwed by Clear – remember, they are part-owned by some of the most customer-service-poor corporations out there – Sprint, Comcast, AT&T, etc. Frankly, I expected a worse experience with them.

    Like I said, I’m sure they HAVE screwed people, but its by no means 100% of those they service.


  24. Hi Kimball:

    I’m living in the inland empire of Los Angeles, California. Since we moved here last year, we’ve been using Verizon FIOS. We’ve been fairly happy with the service but they recently raised their prices to $65/mo for 15/5 service. I decided to try clear for $50 for 6/2 service. Although this is a bit slower than FIOS, I’ve been getting anywhere from 2-7Mbs download speeds. Most of our devices connect wirelessly including iPhone, iPad, Mac Mini and Apple TV’s. I’ve been able to stream Netfiix, Wall Street Journal, iTunes Music Festival and my own content. So far we are happy with the service but we are only 200 yards from the tower.

    We’ll keep you updated on developments. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kimball:

      Here’s an update to my experience with CLEAR Internet so far.

      As mentioned above, we’ve been subscribers to CLEAR ever since September 2012. So far, we’ve been very happy with our service in Southern California. CLEAR’s cellular tower is only 1/2 block away from our place.

      We haven’t had any issues with our CLEAR Hub Express except for one WiFi issue (that was not CLEAR’s fault). We moved some equipment around such as our Mac Mini which serves as a media server for two Apple TV’s. After the move, the Mac Mini had trouble connecting via WiFi to our CLEAR Hub Express downstairs. The CLEAR Hub Express has good cellular signal everywhere at our place. I contacted CLEAR Support but they weren’t able to help. After doing some troubleshooting, I was able to solve the issue by changing the adjusting the WiFi Channel. After this, we’ve been very happy with the CLEAR service.

      An additional update, I decided to get Freedom POP’s WiMax service with Freedom Spot Photon (Portable WiFi Hotspot using CLEAR’s WiMax network). Service is “free” for the first 500MB although they give are giving and additional 1GB when I signed up. After using your limit, they charge $0.02 per MB (around $10 per 1GB). Speeds are comparable and sometimes faster (3-8 Mbs) so far. I just received Freedom Spot Photon this week so I will perform further testing with my iPad Mini.

  25. Nice review! Very informative. Which explains why I got a letter in the mail regarding the lawsuit against clear(I had to do a double-take). I bought a clear regular modem last year after my battle with comcast. To date, I havent had any issues with the service(I guess I can attribute it to being the D.C. area). However, I’m taken aback by what i’m reading about the problems you guys been having with clear. It also made me think about some options for my home network system(I have a netgear router attached to my modem). I have a question for you Kimball.. Can you tell me the LAN speed of the modem port of clear modems or router?? Is it only 100Mbps or does it go higher?? I tried to find that info on clear’s website, but to no avail.. I know my Netgear router max speed is 100Mbs, and I’m going to get a new router soon(my computer LAN ports are 10/10 10/100 10/1000). I’ve been considering getting verizon fios, since DSL in my particular area SUCKS!!!! Again Thank you for the review!!

  26. I am so glad that I didn’t accept the Clear order. I called them to ask some questions like: do you provide static IP (for web hosting)
    I was told they do not but I could go to (not found) but while searching the internet for possible “acceptable” external static IPs and Clear’s reviews I luckily came across this site and then went and read Clear’s Acceptable Use policy and it specifically states that running web cams, web sites, etc are against their “Acceptable Use policy”. I have seen this also on cable internet policies so was not totally surprised but many ISPs will provide one or more “external” static IPs for extra money and then you are basically in a business account instead of residential and the terms allow this.
    The Clear sales rep told me “4G” is the fastest and latest internet connections available (which is true for wifi) and that the top connection @49.99/month would be 6 mbps (downstream)/ 1 mbps (upstream). I currently pay $56/month for 18 mbps / 1 mbps (upstream) and $15/month for 1 static IP.

    I am sticking with my current ISP which is AT&T until there is something that is truly faster, more reliable, etc.

    Kimball, thanks for this forum! Saved me the headache of the refund jail that so many on this forum have had issue with.

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