Clearwire has launched its 20-square-mile WiMAX “sandbox” in Silicon Valley to spur development of 4G applications.
“Our goal is to harness the concentration of developer talent in Silicon Valley and accelerate the pace at which these disruptive services are being developed,” said John Saw, chief technology officer of Clearwire, in a statement.
The current coverage footprint of the testing environment includes the local campuses of Clearwire investors Intel and Google, which already have started in-house 4G application development programs and were instrumental in the creation of the Silicon Valley sandbox. Clearwire will extend coverage to Cisco’s campus in the coming months as the WiMAX network expands.
“Mobile broadband is fundamentally changing the way people use the Internet, and 4G networks like Clearwire’s have incredible potential,” said Larry Alder, mobile product manager at Google, in a statement. “We’re excited to see how developers will take advantage of this unique asset as Internet users increasingly expect connectivity regardless of their device or location.”
Bright House, Comcast, Sprint and Time Warner Cable also will join Clearwire, Cisco, Intel and Google as partners in the testing environment. They plan to promote the program to their developers and supply 4G development resources to the network.
The network is intended to encourage development of WiMAX applications. Service will be provided free to a limited number of qualified developers leading up to the commercial service launch in the area. The developer network is a precursor to commercial service planned for the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010.
Clearwire says the network’s performance is similar to that provided by Wi-Fi, but without the short-range limitations of a traditional hot spot. Developers can expect to see peak download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, with average download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps, said Clearwire. Most 3G networks currently in deployment offer download speeds between 600 kbps – 1.4 Mbps, according to the company.
The creation of the testing environment, dubbed the CLEAR 4G WiMAX Innovation Network, was announced earlier this year and is being launched by Clearwire operating subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC.
Developers who have not qualified for free service can access the network with the purchase of a Clearwire WiMAX USB modem. CLEAR network-ready WiMAX devices are also eligible for the program and include the Samsung Mondi and WiMAX-embedded Intel-based PC’s. In order to qualify, developers must register for Clearwire’s developer program and describe the WiMAX development ideas they wish to pursue.