Evolved HSPA

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HSPA+ sign shown in notification bar on an Android-based smartphone.

Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, or HSPA+, is a technical standard for wireless, broadband telecommunication. HSPA+ enhances the widely used WCDMA (UMTS) based 3G networks with higher speeds for the end user that are comparable to the newer LTE networks. HSPA+ was first defined in the technical standard 3GPP release 7 and expanded further in later releases.

In the United States, it is commonly available under AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US.


HSPA+ provides an evolution of High Speed Packet Access and provides data rates up to 168 Megabits per second (Mbit/s) to the mobile device (downlink) and 22 Mbit/s from the mobile device (uplink). Technically these are achieved through the use of a multiple-antenna technique known as MIMO (for "multiple-input and multiple-output") and higher order modulation (64QAM) or combining multiple cells into one with a technique known as Dual-Cell HSDPA.

The 168 Mbit/s and 22 Mbit/s represent theoretical peak speeds. The actual speed for a user will be lower. In general, HSPA+ offers higher bitrates only in very good radio conditions (very close to the cell tower) or if the terminal and network both support either MIMO or Dual-Cell HSDPA, which effectively use two parallel transmit channels with different technical implementations.

The higher 168 Mbit/s speeds are achieved by using multiple carriers with Dual-Cell HSDPA and 4-way MIMO together simultaneously.[1][2]

The technology also delivers significant battery life improvements and dramatically quicker wake-from-idle time, delivering a true always-on connection. HSPA+ should not be confused with LTE, which uses an air interface based on OFDMA modulation and multiple access. HSPA+ is an evolution of HSPA that upgrades the existing 3G network and provides a method for telecom operators to migrate towards 4G speeds without deploying a new radio interface.[3]

All-IP architecture[edit]

A flattened all-IP architecture is an option for the network within HSPA+. In this architecture, the base stations connect to the network via IP (often Ethernet providing the transmission), bypassing legacy elements for the user's data connections. This makes the network faster and cheaper to deploy and operate. The legacy architecture is still permitted with the Evolved HSPA and is likely to exist for several years after adoption of the other aspects of HSPA+ (higher order modulation, multiple streams, etc.).

This 'flat architecture' connects the 'user plane' directly from the base station to the GGSN external gateway, using any available link technology supporting TCP/IP. The definition can be found in 3GPP TR25.999. The user's data flow bypasses the Radio Network Controller (RNC) and the SGSN of the previous 3GPP UMTS architecture versions, thus simplifying the architecture, reducing costs and delays. This is nearly identical to the 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) flat architecture as defined in the 3GPP standard Rel-8. The changes allow cost effective modern link layer technologies such as xDSL or Ethernet, and these technologies are no longer tied to the more expensive and rigid requirements of the older standard of SONET/SDH and E1/T1 infrastructure.

There are no changes to the 'control plane'.

Nokia Siemens Networks Internet HSPA or I-HSPA is the first commercial solution implementing the Evolved HSPA flattened all-IP architecture.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Klas Johansson, Johan Bergman, Dirk Gerstenberger, Mats Blomgren and Anders Wallén (28 January 2009). "Multi-Carrier HSPA Evolution" (PDF). Ericsson.com. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  2. ^ "White paper Long Term HSPA Evolution Mobile broadband evolution beyond 3GPP Release 10" (PDF). Nokiaslemensnetworks.com. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  3. ^ "Ericsson Review #1 2009 - Continued HSPA Evolution of mobile broadband" (PDF). Ericsson.com. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived January 2, 2011 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]