Helped by advanced antenna technology, Nokia Siemens Networks is pushing HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) download speeds to 336M bps (bits per second) during a demonstration at the PT/Expo Comm show in Beijing.
Somewhat in the shadow of LTE's growing popularity vendors are developing HSPA to offer more bandwidth. To reach 336M bps, Nokia Siemens used a number of radio tricks, including antenna technology MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) and sending data over several carriers at the same time. MIMO uses multiple antennas in the base station and on the device to increase speeds.
The network equipment to make this a reality will be available by end of 2012, according to Nokia Siemens.
The first iteration of HSPA offered download speeds at 1.8M bps, and today a growing number of operators are offering speeds at up to 42M bps, or about 20M bps in real-world capacity. Before networks that offer 336M bps arrive, operators will have the option of upgrading their networks to 84M bps and or 168M bps, as long as the have the necessary spectrum, Alan Hadden, president at industry organization GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) said.
But it likely won't end there. At the end of last year, T-Mobile in the U.S. and Nokia Siemens said that HSPA eventually will be able to deliver theoretical download speeds at over 650M bps. To get there operators will have to combine frequencies from more than one band, a way of increasing bandwidth that will also be used by next-generation LTE networks.
The two network technologies will live side by side during the foreseeable future. Using both LTE and HSPA will allow operators to handle more subscribers, as data volumes increase. As LTE coverage is still limited, HSPA will act as a back up. HSPA can also be used by operators that don't have the necessary spectrum to offer LTE.
PT/Expo Comm opened its doors on Monday and will continue until Friday.
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