• Northern Michigan University
  • NMU

Connecting to NMU WiMAX -  What to Expect

When you launch the WiMAX client (Intel or Motorola), it turns WiFi off, searches for the NMU WiMAX network. If found or not found the result is clearly displayed. If the network is seen and enough signal is present the client software will try and acquire an IP address, which is clearly displayed.

If an IP address is not acquired then the client is at the edge of the network and does not have enough signal power to talk back to the WiMAX network even though it can see it. Move around to try and improve signal strength.

If an IP address is acquired then the speed of the client will rely on the signal strength of it's connection, download speed will always be much better than upload speeds.To check signal strength for the Intel client WiMAX -> Options -> Advanced -> Network Statistics, for the Motorola Connection Manager the information is displayed in the connection window.

When the client does acquire an IP address the RSSI should be -85db or greater,  this number will range from -40's db to -99db, with 0 meaning no signal and -40's db to -70's db being the best signal. Most of Marquette should be in the -50's db to -70's db range indoors and outdoors. The CINR will range from 0 to 35 with the best signal being 35 and the worst 0 no signal, the CINR in Marquette on average should range from 5 to 33 with the higher the CINR being the better connection. Moving around within an area as much as a few feet can make a significant difference in signal strength in low signal strength areas.

Speeds to expect from the WiMAX network are highly dependent on signal strength. You can expect anything from  50KBps to1MBps upload and 500KBps to 3MBps download with 50KBps up and 1MBps down speeds in the poor signal areas and 1MBps up and 3MBps down in excellent signal areas. In general one should expect 500KBps - 768KBps upload and 1MBps-3MBps download, which is similar to DSL. The download speeds will always be much better that the upload speeds. The WiMAX network should not be used for Music or Video file sharing applications. It is okay to use for Music or Video downloads from licensed content providers.

As with any wireless system, building construction, trees, and other natural terrain can severely affect signal strength.

The WiMAX network is not targeted to work in the residence halls or on campus. This is why the wireless card that NMU uses is both WiFi and WiMAX enabled. When you are on campus, turn off your WiMAX and turn on your WiFI or plug into a data jack. When you are off campus, WiMAX may be your best option to access the NMU network.