We had the opportunity to take a look at just about every 4G Internet device and plan on the market today. There was a clear winner, and the pun is not intended. CLEAR won hands down over the other providers for a variety of reasons. They are the perfect storm of mobile 4G providers not because of any one thing, but rather a combination of a number of variables such as:
Their devices – They have a USB Stick called Atlas that works very well out of the box and with any usb computer/tablet-with-usb-port/notebook/netbook/etc. They have the CLEAR Spot Voyager which is a really great 2 inch x 2 inch (or so) thin square device that lets you have a roaming access point to connect to where ever you go. It’s great for long trips in the car, going to coffee shops, or wherever. You can actually turn it on, throw it back in your bag and forget about it. It lasts for many hours and multiple people can connect to it easily without an issue.
Finally they have the grand daddy of all the devices the CLEAR Modem w/Wi-Fi. It’s super fast, brings your Internet connection to your location and allows you to plug a wired switch into it. You can run your entire small office network off it or your house network off it and you have all the basics that you would need such as port forwarding, security, etc… The best part of the CLEAR devices is they don’t block ports outside of ports used for running a mail server or a web server. You don’t want to run either of those things off of a 4G connection anyway so there is no loss there. This means you can run VOIP applications and save the cost of land line phone systems while you are at it. You’ll need to know what you are doing to configure for jitter properly but I was able to successfully run a IPPBOX off the CLEAR Modem w/Wi-Fi and make good clear calls from 4 VOIP phones at the same time.
Another part of the perfect storm was service. They have great service in the more urban areas, and some not so urban areas. Is the coverage spotty in some places? Sure it is, use their coverage map to determine if it’s a fit for you. However, chances are if you are in a larger-ish city you will have service. The speed is outstanding. I was able to benchmark over the period of 6 months average speeds of 5 – 8 megabit down and 1.25 – 1.8 megabit up. The service was always online, there wasn’t anything henky with it and I really value the offering.
The last three pieces of the perfect storm and the reason Reviewboard Magazine calls CLEAR High-Speed 4G Mobile Internet Service the best 4G Mobile Internet Service in the United States, is Price, Data Limits, and Contract.
It’s real simple, you are either paying $34.99 for a slow-ish 1.5Mbit down 500k up connection of $49.99 a month for (they say) 3-6 mbit down (we got 5-8) and 1mbit+ up. There is NO data limit, and NO CONTRACT. That just makes CLEAR a clear winner here. It also keeps them on their toes because if they don’t keep upgrading… if they don’t keep providing you with great service… you could head on down the road! No contracts means they have to consistently bring their A-Game.
We nominated CLEAR and they WON the Reviewboard Magazine 2012 Best Buy Award for the being the best 4G Mobile Internet Service provider in the United States. Their coverage map is growing all the time, and their service is really extraordinary. You can get the voyager here, the Atlas here, and the Clear Hub Express here.