HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is like having your home cable broadband experience delivered to your mobile phone or notebook.
HSPA is part of the GSM 3G network and is (predominately) a software upgrade of the network infrastructure. To use the high speed variant, you need a mobile device that is HSPA-enabled - most new mobile phones and high-end notebooks have these as standard.
HSPA has a great legacy, coming from the GSM family, which delivers mobile communications to over a third of the world’s population. It is the latest technology to enable even faster data rates for mobile users available today. The evolution has seen familiar acroymns such as GPRS (the first packet technology giving around 128kb/s) to EDGE (an enhanced version offering around 240kb/s) and then the introduction of 3G networks increasing the data rate to 384kb/s.
The various enhancements on the HSPA route are as follows:
HSDPA – High Speed Downlink Packet Access – the ability to receive large files to your mobile device such as email attachments, PowerPoint presentations or web pages. HSDPA 3.6mbps network can download a typical music file of around 3Mbytes in 8.3 secs and a 5Mbps video clip in 13.9 secs. Speeds achieved by HSDPA top 14.4Mb/s but most network operators provide speeds up to 3.6Mbps, with the rollout of 7.2Mbps quickly growing. HSDPA networks have been around for about 2 years and are deployed and offering mobile broadband right across the world.
HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access – this is a further enhancement to increase the speed by which you communicate from your mobile device – for example, this enables you to upload videos to YouTube in secs so that you can share the experience in real time. The upload speeds which were at 384kb/s with HSDPA are now increased to a maximum of 5.7Mb/s
HSUPA is available in a few countries today with 2008 really seeing this as common place.
HSPA Evolved – this is also known as HSPA+ is the next step and is more focused on delivering data services enabling speeds of up to 42Mb/s in the downlink and 11Mb/s in the uplink. HSPA Evolved will be available in late 2008 early 2009.
All of these are acronyms mean Mobile Broadband, today!
Common terms used by mobile network operators to market the service are: 3G+, NextG, 3G Broadband, 3.5G and many more.