Ericsson Tests Enhanced Mobile Broadband

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Ericsson and 3 Italia have tested a faster mobile network, HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) Evolution, offering download bandwidth of up to 14.4M bps and a maximum uplink speed of 5.8M bps.

Of significance is the increased uplink speed; the download speed is the same as in existing networks. Improvements in capacity have previously been focused on download bandwidth, but that is now starting to change, according to Jeanette Fridberg, director of marketing for radio access networks at Ericsson.

HSPA Evolution also features lower latency, which will improve performance when sending large pictures or files, according to Fridberg. But it's still not good enough to satisfy the most demanding users: the online gamers, she said.

The improved capacity is part of a larger software upgrade that Ericsson will start shipping this month for its mobile base stations. Fridberg expects several operators to start rolling out the upgraded version of HSPA during the fall, but would not list who is onboard. She also expects the first clients for laptops to start shipping during the same time frame.

The upgrade is the first version of HSPA Evolution; subsequent releases will increase the HSPA download speed to 42M bps (bits per second) and the upload speed to 12M bps. Earlier this year, at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas, Ericsson demonstrated a network supporting 42M bps, which will ship in December.

Standards bodies working on HSPA are also discussing boosting the technology's speed beyond 42M bps, according to Fridberg.

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