Home / 🌐Internet / 📡 Networks / HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) What is it, how does it work and what is it for in telecommunications?

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High Speed Packet Access , is a telecommunications technology known as 3.5G, third generation (3G). has been designed to enhance what is UTMS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technology.

So HSPA works through two specific protocols that are used in tandem , which help it to work at high speed. This has all been converted into an enhanced version that allows to extend and improve the performance of mobile company networks .

If you don’t know yet this HSPA technology , then here we are going to explain you what it is about, its main function and what is its function in telecommunications, for that it follows in detail everything we will explain you in this post.


What is HSPA and what is this technology used for in telecommunications?

Basically the HSPA is an update of what is the 3GUMTS which allows to provide a higher data rate being higher in both uplink and downlink. All this with the aim of improving performance and thus providing a better service to customers .

Therefore, all this was designed to be able to increase the capacity of Internet connectivity from smartphones in 3G, which are based on UMTS and WCDMA . Considering that 3G UMTS was the one that enabled mobile communications to move from a voice centred system to a data centred system.

However, the speeds of 3G UMTS were not fully sufficient for what is navigation and downloading images and videos , which is why the need arose to improve this technology with HSPA . As mentioned above it works with two specific protocols , such as HSDPA which are the high speed downlink packets and HSUPA, which are the high speed uplink packets.

Similarly, these types of HSPA networks are capable of delivering a maximum of 14.4 megabytes per second of performance. All this has undoubtedly made it an enhanced version that allows for a higher speed in mobile Internet browsing .

Evolution of the HSPA What are all the versions and improvements of this technology that exist?

Like all technologies, since the birth of the HSPA different versions and improvements have been developed with the aim of keeping this system updated and capable of offering very good performance speeds.

That’s why we’re going to explain each of these versions and what the improvements of each one have been with respect to the previous one:

  • HSPA: As already mentioned, HSPA was the first technology used with the aim of improving mobile Internet connections , thus improving those of the UMTS standard . Since then, HSPA has been constantly evolving thanks to the 3GPP standardisation consortium , which is constantly developing techniques to improve the standard .
  • HSDPA: The second version that arrives to continue improving all this Internet connectivity by telecommunications ends up being HSDPA, which breaks the limit of 384 Kbps of the UTMS , thus providing a really good speed, taking into account that the most frequent speeds in the case of Spain are 3. 6 Mbps and 7.2 Mbps .
  • HSUPA: With the aim of further improving all this, we end up developing HSUPA, this arrives with the aim of further improving the upload speed of up to 5.7 Mbps and thereby being able to reduce the latency of connections . In the case of Spain the most common speeds of this type are 1.4 Mbps and can reach 2 Mbps upstream .
  • HSPA+: After all this you end up developing HSPA+ or HSPA Evolved as it is also known, this standard allows to increase even more the speed by modulating the data with 64QAM only in cases where the signal is really good. Generally, 64 QAM modulation carries more information with the same radio resources .
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This makes it possible to reach speeds of up to 28 Mbps from download and at least 11.5 Mbps upload .

  • HSPA+ MIMO: Finally, we find what is HSPA+ Mime, which is also called as the second phase of HSPA+. In the case HSPA+ uses MIMO it will be able to transmit through several signals in parallel thus achieving a speed of up to 42 Mbps. This enables to further improve the performance of telecommunications connections.

How does HSPA improve the UMT of 3G networks? Main advantages

Basically the HSPA was developed to become an upgrade to the UMT standard with which all 3G networks operate . But in this case, the HSPA uses more efficiently the radio spectrum assigned to all operators. This technology enables users to improve data transfer speeds and latency and thus achieve better Internet browsing results .

Thus the UMTS was more oriented towards the operation of switched circuits, this did not prove to be entirely suitable for the operations of the packets, as users required higher speeds that were not within the reach of UMTS. Therefore, the HSPA was incorporated into many UMT networks so that these could better operate in the required applications.

All this offers a great amount of benefits to users , one of them is that it allows them to have a better performance when using mobile connections . That’s why here we present the main advantages of this improvement in standards:

  • Shorter transmission intervals (TTI): By having a shorter TTI , it significantly reduces round-trip times , allowing to improve adaptation to rapid channel variations. This can provide a reduction in latency.
    • Use of higher order modulation: In this case the 16QAM is used in the HSDPA downlink so that data can be transmitted at a high speed , achieving speeds of up to 14 Mbps on these links. While QPSK continue to use the HSUPA uplinks in where they achieve maximum speeds of up to 5.8 Mbps.
  • The use of link adaptation: When you achieve link adaptation , you can maximise the use of the channel.
  • Use of shared channel transmission Power sharing resources allows to obtain higher levels of efficiency and which are integrated with data packets and IP concepts.
  • Fast programming of node B: Allows the use of fast programming with adaptive modulation and coding which allows the system to respond to radio channel conditions and interference, only on the downlink channel . This way data traffic can be accommodated so that it tends to be transported at a higher speed.
  • Hybrid ARQ based on Node B: This helps provide shorter round trip times for reduced retransmission and at the same time allows to add robustness to the system so that smooth combination of retransmissions is allowed.
  • Cost reduction: In the case of the operators, with the implementation of this technology it is possible to achieve a reduction of costs per bit transported, and at the same time it allows to obtain an increase in the capacity of the system. Therefore, as data traffic increases, operators increase data transmission revenues, which is a very positive result for these companies.
  • Can be incorporated through software updates: Finally, we find another advantage of this technology , and that is that the HSPA can be incorporated into system software updates , which means that it not only offers excellent benefits to operators , but also to users.
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Terminals with HSPA In what type of equipment can we find this technology?

Not all devices have HSPA today, that’s why here we are going to show you which are the terminals where you can find this technology and start using it:

Mobile phones

In the case of mobile devices, the large mobile phone companies already have several devices that include these capabilities such as : HTC and HTC Touch Diamond , as well as Nokia which has models such as N95. In the case of the new 3G models that have come onto the market also usually have included this technology in their system .

In the case of Spain there are four operators offering this HSPA service on their mobile networks , in this case Movistar, Vodafone, Yoigo and Orange . Here we show you a table comparing each of them and their respective speeds according to the service:

Operator HSDPA HSUPA HSPA+ Yoigo 3.6 MbpsYes21. 6 Mbps Vodafone 7.2 Mbps5.76 Mbps42 Mbps Movistar 7.2 Mbps5.76 Mbps42 Mbps Orange 14.4 Mbps2 MbpsNo

4G USB sticks

Another way users can connect to an Internet network is through USB modems . Usually, each of these has a carrier network and a specific speed . This is how you can currently find these types of devices with HSPA technology , which provides better upload and download speeds for users .


Therefore, here we show you the most common modems that you will find on the market with this type of technology:
Type Download speeds Upload speeds Remarks HSDPA modem 3.6 Mbps or 7.2 Mbps384 KbpsWhen using WCDMA upstream, high latency is generated. HSPA or HSUPA modem 7.2 Mbps2 Mbps DC-HSPA+ modem 42 Mbps11.5 Mbps HSPA+ modem 21.6 Mbps5.7 Mbps

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and for sure it will be of a great help for other members of the community. Thank you! 😉


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