Vodafone supercharges 3G capacity by 40% with software upgrade

Vodafone's data networks in Italy, Spain and the UK. will be upgraded with software that promises to boost data capacity by 40 per cent. The company plans to use technology developed by startup InToTally that is said to solve the outer loop power control problem of CDMA and UMTS/HSPA networks.

According to Silicon Valley-based InToTally, base stations and handsets are continuously changing their transmit levels to overcome adverse network conditions. This leads to signal variations that may boost a subscriber's onnection, according the company, but degrade transmission for other users in the cell.

InToTally CEO Alvaro Lopez-Medrano told GigaOM that the company's software solves this problem using algorithms that allow the network and handset to react dynamically as the network conditions change.

However, the decision by Vodafone to implement the InToTally software in its base stations will only make improvements to the uplink, and the operator will need to persuade handset vendors to adopt the software to see a similar performance uplift in the downlink.

Vodafone has already told two of its four major infrastructure vendors to begin upgrading their networks next month with software licensed from InToTally, according to the report. Lopez-Medrano said this move would account for 30 per cent of the base stations Vodafone has deployed worldwide.

Lopez-Medrano adds that handsets with chipsets using its technology should become available within a year. However, Vodafone will only see an improvement in downlink capacity once a critical mass (around 30 per cent, suggests Lopez-Medrano) of upgraded handsets are operating within the network. The startup's CEO said he believes Vodafone will eventually favour handset vendors that incorporate InToTally's technology over devices that don't.

According to GigaOM, Vodafone is also making an equity investment of an undisclosed amount in InToTally, which was started by Lopez-Medrano and a team of engineers from Polytechnic University of Madrid in 2002. The company has raised $1.25 million to fund development.

For more:
- see this GigaOM article
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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