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Faster mobile broadband on the horizon
Friday 16 January 2009 11:52:39 by John Hunt

Field trials of faster mobile broadband services have demonstrated speeds of up to 16Mbps peak download rate using 64QAM HSPA+ on Vodafone Spain's network. The technology can support speeds up to 42 Mbps on the download and 11.5 Mbps on the uplink using MIMO (multiple-input, multiple output) and Vodafone expects to trial data connections at 21 Mbps in early 2009.

When live services are deployed using this technology, typical video bit-rates of 13 Mbps are expected to be attainable in good conditions and 4 Mbps average across typical cell locations. Mobile networks in Asia are currently deploying HSPA+ services with StarHub in Singapore expected to roll out up to 21 Mbps services by Q2 2009.

"Successfully demonstrating a live HSPA+ high speed connection has been a key milestone in continuing to build confidence in this new technology.

"The results show that HSPA+ technology is well placed to further enhance our customers' mobile broadband experience through the evolution of our existing 3G networks."

Andy MacLeod, (Global Networks Director) Vodafone

This may prove promising for users in those hard to reach areas who lack existing high-speed broadband services as the faster mobile services may be a viable solution for providing next generation type services but without the large cost of deploying fibre to a small village. Newer technology such as 3GPP LTE, which is to be ratified as a standard in March 2009 and can provide speeds up to 326.4 Mbps using mobile networks, is already in development with manufacturers and will hopefully see wide spread deployment in the coming years.

Comments

Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
Predictable. For all but gamers BT will be trailing miles behind if they don't get their fingers out soon.

What a shame.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
What happens to mobile BB when lots of people in the same cell are trying to use it?

Rumour is that BT will withdraw from rural areas in which case hundreds of people might be trying to access the Internet from the same cell tower.

What happens to the speed then?
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
Depends how the technology evolves really.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"What happens to the speed then?"

Same as any other "contended" (ie affordable) service: if enough people try to use it at the same time, some of them will be unhappy.

Why would BT(w) withdraw from rural areas? They'll be the only provider in those parts, and Ofcom will still be asleep at the wheel, so BT will be able to take their customers to the cleaners even more than usual?????
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@c_j_: It's a possibility based on the assumption that the report due out at the end of month frees them from their USO (making it an industry USO instead).

The theory is that BT will promptly withdraw from unprofitable areas (stating that they have mobile coverage) and concentrate on improving service in built up areas.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
On the contention issue:For some reason I've always assumed that mobile BB would be more contended than ADSL. I could well be wrong, hence my question.

How effectively can a cell tower share its available bandwidth amongst users?
Posted by Mitchy_mitch over 8 years ago
A lot better than my current 3 dongle speeds.
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
Latency will probably be unusable for online gaming... and I can just imagine the cost... I struggle to get more than 40-48KBit/s on vodafone atm except the odd 3G areas where I can get 500-1600Kbit/s.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
"The theory is that BT will promptly withdraw from unprofitable areas"
Hmmm. could that mean LLUs can get in for *much* cheaper, not having to 'pay off' BT??? only a guess...

"For some reason I've always assumed that mobile BB would be more contended than ADSL." mobiles work differently! Instead of lines going to just one exchange, there are a good number of transponders serving the phones in one area, connected not by 'flaky cable' but by RF... this all goes to the main switch by purposely designed technology...
I think it can handle the amount, with the price keeping numbers down...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
to get near to this with wires, you would need 5 times as many exchanges, with 5 sets of wires going to each house...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
I am not sure about the 'physical' layout of the mobile network, but the fastest way to send an SMS is NOT next to the transponder, or a high tower, but actually when you are miles out in the country... :)
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"mobile BB would be more contended than ADSL."

I suspect that's a safe assumption, based on quotas included with typical tariffs and per-GB excess prices etc.

Once upon a time the 3G networks had technical disadvantages too if you wanted to regard them as an unfiltered Internerd connection - outgoing ports blocked, no incoming connections at all, that kind of thing. Does that kind of restriction still apply?
Posted by pcoventry76 over 8 years ago
No, all 3G services now allow most things a normal ADSL connection can do.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
http://cellstrat.wordpress.com/2008/08/15/iphone-3g-issues-the-plot-thickens/

"key issue to remember is that the download rate is “per tower”, not per user. So, if two users using HSDPA are on the same tower, they will each get a maximum throughput of 3.6Mbps...
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
..Divide even further, and the more users you have the worse experience everyone gets.

Which is what I always thought. Hence my comment. An entire village (or God forbid a town) all trying to watch BBC iPlayer over mobile BB from a single tower.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
well it is a lot easier for 3 etc. to just put up another transponder, to take the strain... they are being paid enough by you!!!
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
AndrueC the answer to your question is it will be congested, however the same does apply to adsl. So you probably wanted someone to say it will slow down which is true but the question is, is it contended more than ipstream adsl.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@comnut:The ability to add another transponder depends on how many available frequencies there are in that cell.

To my way of thinking ADSL has a last mile bandwidth in the Gigabits. All you need to do is keep adding backhaul.

3G OTOH has a last mile bandwidth of..what? A few hundred Megabits? That's the bit I don't know.

Hmm. I think I'll start a thread in General :)
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"ability to add another transponder depends on how many available frequencies"

You can also make cells geographically smaller, so there are fewer users per cell (but this only helps if the limit is *cell* bandwidth, not backhaul). You may not need extra towers, you can in principle do it using "phased array" aerials on existing towers.

If a 3G cell uses wireless (or xDSL) backhaul it'll have bandwidth in low megabits. A phone exchange (ot cell on a phone exchange :)) with fibre backhaul probably starts at 100Mbit and the Sky's the limit.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
(insufficient proofreading) Phased arrays are one of several ways of making cells smaller; it's an electronic alternative to changing the physical aerials to be more directional.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
As each voice call is about 20k(?) surely data means significant increases in bandwidth.
Posted by AndrueC over 8 years ago
@c_j:That makes sense. So it's workable but probably a step backward if the area already provides ADSL at a megabit or better to a few hundred premises and people want to do more than just send a few emails or browse a bit.

Hmmm.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
The only change to the USO I would anticipate is how it is funded, ie a tax across all telephony (as in the USA) rather than BT swallowing the cost alone.

As for mobile base stations, a lot of them have a few Mbits/s of microwave licensed link. They are contended to the wazoo.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
quote: Posted by pcoventry76 2 days ago
"No, all 3G services now allow most things a normal ADSL connection can do".
yep, I can agree with that, in my area it takes 40 hours to download open office with adsl, and 47 hours with mobile 3g.
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