Ericsson is determined to ensure HSPA is not lost in the hype surrounding Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology during this week's CTIA show. The vendor announced it continues to increase the data speeds of HSPA with what it calls the world's first demonstration of HSPA multi-carrier MIMO technology that will provide peak downlink data rates of 56 Mbps. Current generations of HSPA support peak data rates of about 21 Mbps.
HSPA multi-carrier technology with MIMO is winding its way through the standardization process and is scheduled for commercial deployment in 2010. By the end of 2009, Ericsson said it will support commercial deployment of multi-carrier technology with speeds up to 42 Mbps. The question is, when does it make sense to stop investing in HSPA and begin investing in LTE? Operators like AT&T would like to milk their HSPA networks a bit longer before jumping head first into LTE.
Here's the technical explanation behind the data enhancements in HSPA: "Today's commercial HSPA devices can make use of only one 5-megahertz channel at a time. The introduction of multi-carrier consumers devices will allow two or more 5-megahertz channels to be received simultaneously by one consumer. The data stream is split over the used channels in the radio base station. The first step uses the multi-carrier concept on two frequency channels on the downlink in combination with 64QAM modulation, which gives a peak downlink speed of 42 Mbps. The increase to 56 Mbps is a further step in the evolution of HSPA, using enhancements that are currently being standardized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in its 3GPP Release 9 standard. The step to 56 Mbps is obtained by using multi-carrier technology in combination with multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) technology and 16QAM modulation," Ericsson said.
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