Sprint's got a bunch of devices huddled in a booth running off its Xohm WiMax network: some Nokia N810 tablets and a smattering of notebooks from different makers (like a Windows XP Asus Eee PC, but it was acting a bit wonky, so I had to move on to a more generic laptop). Basically, the internet experience is just like cable, except wireless—the buildout is aimed at 2-4Mbps downspeed bandwidth and about 1.5-2 up, which is exactly what I was pulling here, according to a stealthy speedtest.net check.

I wanted a large file download (like a movie) to check sustained speeds, but they weren't giving us too much freedom to mess around. So I just downloaded iTunes, since it's a decent size and usually pretty snappy on my home computer. As you can see, I got between 140-170KB/s, averaging around 150. A little less than I'm used to with cable in that scenario, and a bit below what I expected post-speed test, but not too shabby, for sure.

I would've liked to try some P2P to really straintest the network, but at that point I got yelled at for taking pictures and downloading stuff. Overall, performance was solid, but it's a lot easier to get a WiMax network running in a cramped, controlled environment than following through on a nation-wide deployment. And that's the real trick. [Giz @ CTIA 2008]