Clearwire network down for hours in some cities

Clearwire customers in a handful of locations were unable to get online for several hours due to a network outage late Tuesday.

The problem affected Las Vegas; Portland and Salem, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Clearwire's West Texas markets. It lasted about five hours and happened as a result of software maintenance work the company was doing on some of its Motorola equipment, Clearwire said.

Additionally, one cell site in Seattle and one in Chicago also failed, leaving customers within range of those sites without access as well. Those outages, which were due to specific equipment failures unrelated to the issues in the other markets, lasted a couple of hours, Clearwire said.

A Clearwire employee posted a Twitter message at around 7 p.m. Pacific Time Tuesday, alerting customers that the company was aware of the outages, but did not yet have an estimate for when they would be resolved. Four hours later the employee wrote that most areas were back up but that if users were seeing scrolling or flashing lights on their modems, they should reboot. The Twitter messages have now been removed.

Multichannel News was the first to report on the outage.

Clearwire recently said that it had about 173,000 customers. At the end of September, it served 13 markets using WiMax; it offers services in additional markets using technology that was a precursor to WiMax.

WiMax is considered a fourth-generation mobile data network, meaning Clearwire is beating to market larger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which are building their own 4G networks based on different technology.

Sprint is the majority owner of Clearwire, while Intel Capital, Comcast, Google, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are investors.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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