The dream of true untethered broadband connectivity is nearly upon us dear US-American readers. Last night, Sprint and Motorola teamed up to do a live demonstration of Sprint's Xohm-branded, mobile WiMax service on the Chicago River. Fortunately Ars Technica was there to take all the 4G action in for the benefit of mankind. An impromptu benchmark courtesy of Speedtest.net clocked the 802.16e WWAN network at more than twice the speed (in both directions) of Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network. In fact, Ars called their Xohm experience "far superior" to Verizon's speedy EV-DO service...
Live video feed, even in full-screen mode, was very good without suffering from "dropped frames or hiccups of any kind" while websites "loaded quickly and seemed very snappy" without any lag whatsoever. The laptops used for the demonstration "all had massive PCMCIA cards" with 2x antenna while the Motorola handsets were all existing models stuffed with WiMax guts. Of course, this was a controlled demonstration across four towers covering just 0.8 miles of the Chicago River. As such, we'd best wait for the pre-commercial trials starting later in the year to get a real feel for the service performance. Commercial launch is planned for April 2008 with pricing expected to match home DSL and cable services without any smarmy, fixed-length cellular-style contract required. Just buy your own hardware and subscribe for as long as you like. Somebody give us a pinch, we must be dreaming.
Read -- Ars Technica hands-on
Read -- Motorola press release