Playing around with WiMAX...

Recently wireless internet access using the WiMAX protocol was rolled out in the Portland metro area. Clearwire has been marketing the service under the name Clear, as an alternative to cable and DSL. Using USB antenas and stand alone routers, Clear allows you to access the Internet wirelessly from just about anywhere in the Portland metro area. They are currently rolling this service out in other metropolitan areas around the US.

Recently Clear provided my school (Lewis Elementary) with two accounts. While there are not currently any Apple Mac drivers for the USB antenna, we are able to utilize the service using a WiMAX-equipped WiFi router (Clearspot) that connects to the Clear service. This portable hotspot is an interesting solution for providing Internet access for field trips and other times you need access while out in the field. For example on Earth Day we used the service to broadcast a tour of our school garden areas using Ustream. We have recently been experimenting with student use of iPod Touches and have used the portable hotspot to connect them to the the net. We have also use the hotspot to gain access at off site events and meetings where access is not readily available.

I plan on having my staff experiment more with this type of access and look forward to seeing what they come up with.

DSC_0014.JPG hotspot