Our main office currently runs on an unreliable pair of bonded T1s in a somewhat remote area. Our lines have issues about 3 - 4 times a year (esp. after rain) which no one seems to be able to fix. Our only other option in our area is WiMAX.

What do I need to know about WiMAX in deciding whether to switch over? The last thing I'd want to do is switch to something even less reliable than our current setup. We're in Southern California so the weather here is pretty decent, though our area is mountainous and can have thick fog. We're about 5-6 miles away from the wireless tower with line of sight. Our office regularly maxes out our 3 megabits and we'd like to upgrade our line to 6 if we do this since WiMAX brings some cost savings as well.

Also, I was told that full duplex wimax is more expensive than half for the same data rate. What do I need to know about this? I was told that a full duplex WiMAX setup has the same bandwidth and latency, which makes it sound like full duplex isn't any better. What am I missing?

The services we use our T1s for are: 1. Web Browsing 2. Hosting some low traffic services like SVN and some small HTTP sites for internal use. 3. Remote Access via RDP and SSH 4. Bulk uploads via SFTP / RSYNC 5. Skype (but only a little bit).

We don't need VOIP, POTS is fine for us.

  • What WiMAX service are you looking at? – Joseph Dec 17 '09 at 3:33
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    Just so you know, WiMAX can be affected by heavy rain too! – sybreon Dec 17 '09 at 3:35
  • We're looking at Covad and Fireline out here in LA. I haven't looked at anyone else yet. Thanks for letting me know about the rain sybreon, but as is with our T1s they stay broken even after the rain lets up for a while. I think some equipment is getting wet and takes a few days to dry out. Also, it never really rains heavily out here, so it actually sounds like WiMAX might work better. – Andrew Cholakian Dec 17 '09 at 6:16

I had a similar decision to make a while back and asked this question. In the end we went with a dynamic T1. We pulled our POTS lines into the T1, hence the dynamic. This choice ends up costing us less over all than the WiMax + POTS lines that we would have had to do if we went that route.

Our bandwidth is supplemented by a Comcast Business 16Mbit connection so we aren't maxing out our available bandwidth.

So from a cost point of view don't rule out keeping a dynamic T1 for data + voice and then using WiMax to supplement your bandwidth. Also ask the WiMax provider for a copy of their SLA and make sure you're ok with what guarantees they are making you.

  • Well, the issue with SLA's is, even though we have a pretty strong one right now, it's not enough of an incentive to get our provider to actually fix our problems. My real question is whether WiMAX sounds like it'd work better than our buggy T1s in our current physical location given our distance from the tower. – Andrew Cholakian Dec 17 '09 at 6:14
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    I bet if you start making noise that you're going to leave they will make more of an effort to fix your problems. – 3dinfluence Dec 17 '09 at 16:10

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