Ericsson claims fastest 3G ever

Special techniques to be demonstrated at CTIA will deliver 56Mb per second

Ericsson said it will demonstrate the fastest 3G wireless performance ever at this week's CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas.

The company plans to show off a 3G HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) network connection running at 56Mb per second (Mbps).

In doing so, Ericsson said it is breaking its own record of 42Mbps demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

Although most carriers using 3G today are expected to eventually migrate to LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a so-called 4G technology, the first commercial LTE services will not be offered until next year, and many operators plan to continue relying on 3G for several years.

LTE vendors have claimed speeds around 100Mbps downstream, but as shown by Ericsson's new claim, it's clear that HSPA hasn't yet run out of steam.

Ericsson reached the new high speed using a combination of MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) technology, which uses more than one antenna, and multicarrier operation, which uses more than one adjacent frequency band.

It will demonstrate this achievement using a router that connects to the Internet via 3G and can provide a connection for several users. That device is not a production product but a design concept.

HSPA with multi-carrier and MIMO is being standardized and should be commercially available next year, according to Ericsson.

In addition to greater speed, MIMO offers greater spectral efficiency, meaning more customers can be served with a given amount of radio spectrum. The 42Mbps technology demonstrated in Barcelona, which used a multicarrier system, will be set for commercial deployment this year, the company said.

Also at CTIA, Ericsson will be showing off the F3607gw mobile-broadband module for HSPA, which will also support older GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) networks.

The module, designed for laptops and netbooks, features lower power consumption than earlier modules and has built-in support for Microsoft Windows 7. The module is set to be released in June.

A key feature of the F3607gw is "wake-on-wireless," which allows the module to stay connected to the wireless network even when the computer is in sleep mode.

This means the PC can be remotely contacted for asset tracking, software updates and a lock-up command if it has been lost or stolen. Intel's Anti-Theft PC Protection Technology can send an SMS (Short Message Service) message to the system to lock it up remotely, and later the PC can be unlocked with another message.

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