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[FAQ] "What is HSPA/HSPA+?" An answer, and maybe more!

This is a discussion on [FAQ] "What is HSPA/HSPA+?" An answer, and maybe more! within the Motorola Atrix FAQ forums, part of the Motorola Atrix Support Forum category; This is the final draft. I have added as much useful information as possible, with help from other members of the community. I have tried ...

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  1. #1
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    [FAQ] "What is HSPA/HSPA+?" An answer, and maybe more!

    This is the final draft. I have added as much useful information as possible, with help from other members of the community. I have tried to keep it as user friendly as possible.


    I have seen this question asked a few times, so I thought I would take up some space and break it down for folks. I will also post links to my FAVORITE website, Wikipedia for those of us that like to know more than is necessary in time. Right now this is sort of a rough draft. If a mod finds this useful, please do sticky. If a mod finds this completely not useful, please don't sticky. It will fade away eventually.

    I am not an expert on mobile technologies. I know enough to understand how it works. I enjoy following the industry to an extent, and try to keep up with it as it is interesting to me. If something on here is incorrect, inaccurate or could easily be disputed, please send me a PM so that I can research into said mistake and correct it.

    Thanks!

    Let me start with a little clarification. Because the Motorola Atrix 4G (and any phone that is using the AT&T netowrk is using GSM (as opposed to CDMA, used by Verizon and Sprint) all of the information that I am providing here is based on GSM cellular networks.

    What is GSM?

    The acronym means Global System for Mobile Communications. It is a standard developed by ETSI for celluar networks. It is the first step in digital cellular networks, as opposed to analog cellular networks.

    "GSM was designed principally for voice telephony, but a range of bearer services was defined (a subset of those available for fixed line Integrated Services Digital Networks, ISDN), allowing circuit-switched data connections at up to 9600 bits/s. At the time of the original system design, this rate compared favourably to those available over fixed connections. However, with the passage of time, fixed connection data rates increased dramatically. The GSM channel structure and modulation technique did not permit faster rates, and thus the High Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD) service was introduced in the GSM Phase 2+."
    This bit here was taken directly from ETSI's website.

    GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is also important to be familiar with, as it is what enables the capability to use IP networking over your phone. GPRS is a best effort service, meaning that important items like throughput and latency will vary dependent on the amount of users.

    "GSM™ is a circuit-switched network; ideal for the delivery of voice but with limitations for sending data. The standard for GSM was designed to evolve. In 2000 the introduction of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) added packet-switched functionality and ‘kick started’ the delivery of the Internet on mobile handsets."
    This bit here was taken directly from 3GPP's website.

    Edge (Third evolution of the 2G data service)

    Edge is the third stage of the 2G mobile technology evolution. This is what most are familiar with when they think of a poor data connection. 2G introduced data services on cellular networks starting with SMS text messaging.

    The EDGE technology is also known as Enhanced GPRS or Enhanced General Packet Radio Service, or where the name comes from, Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution.

    Essentially, it is an enhancement to the GPRS that allows for more bandwidth without the purchase of totally new network equipment. There are no hardware or software installations needed if the carrier has the basestations and transceivers in place. A software addon at this point for most carriers. This specific piece of information actually references Evolved EDGE. ATT does not deploy this technology. (Thank you Dorian for the information).

    What does this mean? The EDGE networks that everyone is familiar with tend to be slow, and are not useful for much more than email and basic web browsing. With Enhanced Edge, this will allow carriers to supplement their HSPA networks with up to 1Mbps speeds, most than likely providing the customer with an average of 500Kbps speeds.

    3G

    3G is the third generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunications. With the introduction of 3G standards, mobile broadband solutions such as USB adapters for laptops, smartphones and tablets can now access be used for internet access over mobile networks.

    Here are some fun facts about 3G:

    Downstream:14.4Mbps
    Upstream: 5.8Mbps
    Fixed: 2Mbps
    Mobile: 384Kbps

    Some standards that fall in to the 3G category are as follows:

    UMTS
    • W-CDMA
    • TD-SCDMA
    • HSPA+
    CDMA2000

    LTE (The first standard for LTE is not technically a 4G technology. However, the next evolution in LTE, called LTE Advanced is a true 4G technology. )

    HSPA and HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access)


    HSPA is the combination of two standards: High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA).
    HSPA+ is the evolution in HSPA. It takes HSPA from 14Mbps down and 5.76Mbps up to 84Mbps/22Mbps respectively.

    AT&T's HSPA+ is only up to Cat.14, which is 21.1Mbps downstream and 5.76Mbps upstream. Most earlier HSPA+ sites are actually 14.4Mbps. (Thank you Dorian!!)

    HSPA improvements in UMTS spectrum efficiency are achieved through:

    New modulation (16QAM) techniquies
    Reduced radio frame lengths
    New functionalities within radio networks (including re-trasnmissions between NodeB and the Radio Network Controller)
    Taken directly from 3GPP.org's website.

    Basically what this means is that throughput is increased while latency is decreased. These are HUGE benefits of cellular networks because with this new addition to the 3G standard it is almost feasible to do things like watch videos online.



    What makes these technologies significant is how they transmit and receive data. I find that it is hard to appreciate the technical evolution of each standard unless you understand what it means on the equipment side. Most people will never see or care about is how much more they can do with their device. But for those interested in finding out maybe how it came to be as we see mobile communications today, this should provide some insight on how we got there.

    Here are some useful links:

    ITU (International Telecommunication Union)

    3
    GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)

    E
    TSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)
    Last edited by grenefroggie; 02-01-2013 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Added a starting paragraph and more information on Edge.

  2. #2
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    Thanks Froggie! That seems to be interesting and useful information that you provided. I'm interested to see what Das8nt and Dorian (the two *experts*) have to say when they chime in.


    -Mike
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  3. #3
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    Right now I am working on more information gathering as well. I am hoping by the end of the weekend I will have all the information and a list setup that shows some of the capabilities of each standard. At the same time, I do want to keep it reader friendly while still being as informative as possible. More work to come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grenefroggie View Post
    Right now I am working on more information gathering as well. I am hoping by the end of the weekend I will have all the information and a list setup that shows some of the capabilities of each standard. At the same time, I do want to keep it reader friendly while still being as informative as possible. More work to come.
    Thanks again, buddy! How's "Tech Support" coming?


    -Mike
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    GSM Galaxy Nexus (Black) - Straight Stock

    GSM Samsung Galaxy S3 (Red) - Rooted running Deadly Venom v8.0.1 Rom






  5. #5
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    Light actually. We have some old equipment running that is giving me some issues, but there isn't anything I can do about it right now. Luckily the customer is reasonable. And yeah, I am mkst certainly still in my PJ's!

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    I burned some midnight oil and added some more information about EDGE (and there is more still to come, I should have reserved more posts, lol) and a small starting paragraph.

    That is it for this morning. I still have presents to wrap. Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) everyone!! Have a FANTASTIC day!

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    AT&T's HSPA+ is only up to Cat.14, which is 21.1Mbps downstream and 5.76Mbps upstream. Most earlier HSPA+ sites are actually 14.4Mbps.

    T-Mobile's DC-HSPA+ is up to 42.2Mbps downstream on a dual-cell. In other words, it's a MIMO design. 2x2. 2 21.1Mbps spatial streams interleaved.

  8. #8
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    I think I could listen to you talk forever. I just haven't gotten that far yet. I have been a busy bee.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Isn't it just a matter of changing the towers over to fiber optics from the standard T1 / T3 lines they currently have installed? I've been seeing technicians going up towers and ripping all of the old stuff out and putting fiber optics in. Seems like 4g LTE is a matter of having the proper hardware installed on the tower.. speaking of 4G I went to att and bad then put a 4G similar card in my phone... haven't noticed a huge difference, but in my hometown I am getting 5mbps download and over 1mbps upload.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
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    Name:  uploadfromtaptalk1324853045525.jpg
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