Yesterday Ericsson demonstrated three flavors of HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) with download speeds up to 168Mbps (megabits per second) and 24Mbps on the uplink.
The first demonstration showcased multi-carrier HSPA with 168Mbps on the downlink and 24Mbps on the uplink using a prototype consumer device and commercial network equipment. This is a world record for the highest HSPA speed achieved on commercial network equipment.
Next, they showed dual-carrier HSPA with 84Mbps. It was the first time ever such a technology was demonstrated using commercial network products.
By using two 5MHz carriers in the connection to the same consumer, peak speeds of 84Mbps are reached, doubling the maximum speed that is offered today by the fastest commercial HSPA networks. Multi-carrier HSPA is a technology still quite a long way from being available to consumers. It is not yet included in the 3GPP (Third-Generation Partnership Project) specification for High Speed Packet Access. Only a select few carriers worldwide even offer support for its precursor, dual-carrier HSPA, the evolution of the wireless technology included in 3GPP release 8.
The third of Ericsson’s world-first achievement was the demonstration of single-carrier HSPA with 42Mbps using end-to-end commercial products including a consumer device. With this new technology, it is possible to reach 42Mbps on a single WCDMA frequency carrier of 5MHz by using MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology.
Comparing the currently used dual-carrier HSPA (7.1Mbps) with 42Mbps technology, operators can be much more efficient with their radio spectrum. In the US, the first announced beneficiary of Ericsson’s new equipment offerings will be T-mobile, who showed 42Mbps at CES 2011.
T-Mobile showed off real download speeds of 28Mbps sitting in the auditorium. They claimed that driving around the Las Vegas downtown area they were getting 8 to 8.7Mbps downloads. In early 2010, PC World tested cellular carriers’ speeds in 13 US cities. Nobody broke into the real world download speeds of over 1.5Mbps.
In fall 2010, we saw 1.9Mbps on the T-mobile HSPA + 7.1Mbps network in the San Francisco area with an older smartphone. All the higher speeds claimed by Ericsson will mean customers will have to use smartphones coming in spring 2011.