HSPA - High Speed Packet Access - and its evolution to HSPA+ (plus) is the most widely deployed mobile broadband technology in the world and is the third generation (3G) evolution of the 3GPP family of technologies. HSPA is the terminology used when both HSDPA (3GPP Release 5) and HSUPA (3GPP Release 6) technologies are deployed on a network. HSPA+ (3GPP Release 7 and beyond) is also part of the HSPA technology and extends an operator’s investment in the network before the next step to 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE, or 3GPP Release 8 and beyond). HSPA builds on third generation (3G) UMTS/WCDMA and is strongly positioned as the leading mobile data technology for the foreseeable future.
Initial HSPA networks offered 3.6 Mbps peak downlink rates with the bulk of the remainder offering 7.2 Mbps; however, continued progress by vendors and leading innovative operators, allows for the evolution to HSPA+. The first HSPA+ networks used 64 QAM modulation and offered 21 Mbps. The use of higher order modulation schemes (from 16 QAM up to 64 QAM), along with MIMO technology, which takes HSPA into HSPA+ was developed in 3GPP Release 7.
Following is a summary of the 3GPP Releases, their status and the standards developments including HSPA/HSPA+:
HSPA is typically is also deployed as a multi-mode technology on LTE devices to enable widespread mobile broadband roaming. Devices with HSPA/HSPA+ number approximately 4000+ from more than 285 suppliers.
In current deployments, HSPA users regularly experience throughput rates well in excess of 1 Mbps under favorable conditions, on both downlinks and uplinks, with 4 Mbps downlink speed commonly measured; planned enhancements will double peak user-achievable throughput rates.
Beyond throughput enhancements, HSPA also significantly reduces latency. HSPA with 2 ms Transmission Time Interval (TTI) supports latency as low as 30 ms.
HSPA/HPSPA+ gives carriers an efficient mobile broadband technology to meet the advanced wireless needs of customers. Standards work has developed HSPA+ up to 336 Mbps at a peak theoretical rate should operators choose to upgrade their HSPA networks by implementing a series of features utilized in LTE.