Rants, Raves, Reviews


Vodafone to upgrade to HSUPA

By Gary R, in , posted: 26-Nov-2007 16:24

This seems to be a very low key announcement from Vodafone. From what I understand, the Vodafone network will receive a software upgrade to some cell sites by April next year which will boost download speeds to a theoretical maximum of 7.2mbps. At the same time Vodafone will introduce Cat 5 HSUPA (High-speed Uplink Packet Access) which offers a theoretical maximum upload speed of 2mbps. This should (in theory) give Vodafone a similar real world performance to the year old Telecom EVDO RevA network, as long as you are within the Vodafone 3G coverage area and you are on an upgraded cell site that is. Lets hope that Vodafone upgrade the back haul at the same time as the fastest download I have experienced on their current network is 1.6mbps.

HSUPA introduces the same technologies already utilised by EVDO RevA such as Hybrid ARQ error correction to reduce frame transmission and a 2ms Return Trip Time (RTT) which speeds up data re-requests.

To benefit from these network improvements you should choose a modem wisely as different modems can have significantly different performance in the field. This is particularly noticeable for higher HSDPA speeds where the influence of radio noise, congestion and signal strength can greatly degrade network speeds.

Look out for a modem which specifies a 'type 3 advanced receiver', featuring 'receive diversity' and 'equalisation'. Both of these features have been shown to vastly improve the ability of the modem to distinguish real signals from noise over the more traditional 'rake-based' receivers.

By next year we should start to see modems that utilise the Qualcomm MSM7225 chipset. This chipset supports Cat 6 HSUPA which offers a maximum theoretical upload speed of 5.76mbps. If you opt for a modem with the current MSM7200 chipset your maximum upload speed will be 2mbps which can not be upgraded.

Apparently there will be a software upgrade for the Vodem to boost the download performance but if you want to experience HSUPA you will need to buy a new modem. From what I understand the Vodem does not feature a 'type 3 advanced receiver' so if you want to really experience faster download speeds as well as the benefits of HSUPA you may as well throw the Vodem in a bin and buy a new modem or Vodem mark2.



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Comment by Madmax77, on 26-Nov-2007 18:39

I hear that Telecom is upgrading to GSM, does this mean I'll have to throw my CDMA mobile in the bin as well?


Author's note by Jama, on 26-Nov-2007 18:50

Keep your RevA modem mate it is good for at least the next 5 years, unless of course you want to go back to GSM dial-up speeds


Comment by nzbnw, on 26-Nov-2007 21:42

Well done Jama, Juha has been talking about this (and your self) over at Stuff: http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/techsploder/2007/11/26/hspa-coming-well-next-year-at-least/

As to Telecom, it is my understanding they have commited to HSPA and HSPA+, but I could be wrong?

nzbnw


Comment by juha, on 27-Nov-2007 09:16

Yeah, I believe Telecom's looking at HSPA at least - it depends on the hand-set and device choices at the time though. Even Vodafone with it's huge global clout has to take device availability into account before launching new tech.


Comment by sbiddle, on 27-Nov-2007 09:34

While it's good news the Vodafone vs Telecom GSM battle has only just started. Telecom are still only rolling out GSM 850 to rural areas and not WCDMA. Vodafone do plan to roll out 900 WCDMA which will have HSDPA and HSUPA from day one.

Vodafone on the other hand have terrible backhaul which they need to do something about. The reason you can't even get more than 1.3Mbps at present with a 3.6Mbps network is the 2Mbps bearers for many of their sites.

On the other hand Vodafone talked about mobile replacing fixed lines and now they're bleating about cabinetisation because it's put their planned fixed line investment plans in tatters. What's going on?


Comment by juha, on 27-Nov-2007 11:18

The "replace fixed lines" thing is a bit strange, when you consider Vodafone's femto-cell plans which effectively puts mobile phone traffic over DSL in most cases.

Leaving that aside, it seems Vodafone was banking on having access to DSL as per above, perhaps because of the problems it has obtaining sufficient backhaul capacity (neither Telecom nor TelstraClear are keen on doing business with Voda at the moment).

Having unbundled exchanges means Voda could sell DSL at cost or below, making up for it through mobile phone charges which as we know won't be regulated in NZ.

Just a thought...


Author's note by Jama, on 27-Nov-2007 11:23

The future is mobile**


**with DSL backhaul


Comment by sbiddle, on 27-Nov-2007 11:56

Any word on femto cell plans for NZ?


Comment by nzbnw, on 27-Nov-2007 12:39

Does anyone know if there are any commercially available UMTS 900 MHz devices yet? From Juha's blog over at Stuff, Vodafone still plan to use 2100 MHz in the main centres, which is also what Telecom is planning (from what I understand, to match the existing EVDO coverage), and if so, how much extra reach (/advantage) would 900 MHz UMTS give Vodafone?

nzbnw


Author's note by Jama, on 27-Nov-2007 12:47

There are no commercially available UMTS/HSDPA devices for 900Mhz from the big manufacturers (Sierra, Novatel, Option) at this stage. I know when they are coming but I can not say due to an NDA

Edit: I am referring to data devices (I forget about phones)


Author's note by Jama, on 27-Nov-2007 13:01

Oh yeah - 900MHz UMTS would give Voda a similar type of footprint to Telecom EVDO.

Telecom would not be able to match EVDO coverage in the cities without deploying significantly more 2100 cell sites.


Comment by sbiddle, on 27-Nov-2007 13:12

In terms of 900MHz WCDMA handsets the Nokia 6121 has been around for some time and now that Eslisa has announced their network I think you will see quite a few more appearing.


Comment by nzbnw, on 27-Nov-2007 13:34

It is going to be an interesting 24 months, with Telecom launching UMTS 2100 / GSM 850, and what will be done to promote Telecom's new network build over UMTS 900?

From my point of view, a November launch cannot come fast enough, and perhaps an interim solution should be launched to reduce the time to market lead time.

nzbnw


Author's note by Jama, on 27-Nov-2007 13:40

nzbnw are you on drugs? Telecom already has a superior network it is called EVDO RevA which has greater coverage, more capacity, lower latency and is available in more places.

Why the hell are you so excited about Telecom launching a retrograde 2G network with a limited 3G HSDPA bolt-on???????????


Comment by freitasm, on 27-Nov-2007 14:14

"Why the hell are you so excited about Telecom launching a retrograde 2G network with a limited 3G HSDPA bolt-on??????????? "


Because then people will stop complaining about Telecom's roaming? Seriously though there are two things that prevented me porting my mobile number to Telecom New Zealand:

1.no more CDMA roaming to Australia (from January 2008) and no roaming at all in Europe.

2.The stupid requirement for me to sign a contract.

Regarding number 2, as I said before, forcing users on a contract not only keep churn, but prevents users coming in...


Comment by nzbnw, on 27-Nov-2007 15:03

Roaming is the key as freitasm says, and that is my main reason for looking forward to it. You are right through; EVDO Rev A is performing very well and is the superior than anything else on the market in terms of coverage and speed.

The next question for the CDMA network is will we see an upgrade path to Rev B and Rev C in New Zealand. nzbnw


Comment by Kiwipixter, on 27-Nov-2007 18:43

will this be the last big upgrade for the CDMA network? be good to know what future investment Telecom will put into a network thats going to be replaced, like devices, coverage etc...


Comment by ZIMsar10, on 9-Dec-2007 18:18

Comment by nzbnw, on 27-NOV-2007 12:39

 

Does anyone know if there are any commercially available UMTS 900 MHz devices yet? From Juha's blog over at Stuff, Vodafone still plan to use 2100 MHz in the main centres, which is also what Telecom is planning (from what I understand, to match the existing EVDO coverage), and if so, how much extra reach (/advantage) would 900 MHz UMTS give Vodafone?

nzbnw


In answer to your question about extra reach with the upcoming 900Mhz network with Vodafone, I understand the signal can reach up to 160km.

 


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Gary R
Wellington
New Zealand


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