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Vodafone in 20Mbps mobile broadband trial
Tuesday 17 February 2009 12:46:34 by Andrew Ferguson

Vodafone appears to have been busy carrying out further field trials of HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) in Madrid and Southern Spain.

The trials saw what are some of the fastest speeds attained by a mobile broadband device of 20Mbps, 4Mbps faster than the tests announced in January. The trial exploited MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology which creates multiple paths between the wireless dongle and base station and further work is to take place making use of adjacent radio channels to further enhance speeds.

In terms of speeds for a solution where you are not tethered to a single location the speeds from this trial are impressive, but as the thousands of current 3G based mobile broadband users will attest to, your dongle can connect at 7.2Mbps but actual download speeds will vary significantly due to the number of users on a base station or that the signal drops even though you have not moved, only to reconnect at 115Kbps. One area which HSPA is improving is the latency of the connection. It seems that while GPRS and Edge technologies often have latency in excess of 500ms, UMTS drops this to around 300ms, HSDPA halves this, and HSPA/HSPA+ start to approach acceptable latency levels for interactive applications at around 50ms.

If mobile broadband is to succeed and be a significant competitor to ADSL2+, DOCSIS 3.0 and FTTC/FTTH services it will need to address the issue of backhaul, unfortunately the costs of this will largely be the same irrespective of how the last mile to the customer is covered. Addressing the cost of backhaul is almost more critical that the debate of what technology to use for the last mile, otherwise we may have 50Meg links to the home, but due to congestion find it only performs the same as a 0.5Meg link did back in 2000 at peak times.


Posted by sunindra over 8 years ago
I understand that digital signal tend to attarct lightning, does the speed of the connection have any neg/pos influence ?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
sunindra: I think someone is joking with you... that is total rubbish...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Lightning is just electricity, it is just looking for the quickest path from the sky to ground - **ANY** conductive object that is higher than the surrounding ground will attract lightning.. this will include a tree you are under, your body is more conductive, so do not touch the tree!

If all you have is a tree in a field, the safest place is lying on the ground - a very short path for it to travel, if you are unlucky, and it misses the tree! :)
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Other wise in a town, a metal object like an aerial that is higher than the rest will attract lightning.. the proper solution is to fix the aerial lower, with a 'lightning conductor' (just a sharpened piece of metal!) higher up, with a wire down to ground..
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
but as for vodafone.... Meh.....
Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
You'll get "20"Mbit thats about 3Mbit actually and 500Mb a month of bandwidth... hah.
Posted by MarcusJClifford over 8 years ago
My Vodafone 3G+ Dongle connects at 7.2 and I get a true 2Mbps down 400kbps up. I am in rural Scotland and connect to a base station 11.5 KM away. I get pings of ~150ms when on 3G+ and ~300ms on standard 3G.

It is a fast and responsive as "classic pre-max" broadband with the exception of latency.

Cont. below
Posted by MarcusJClifford over 8 years ago
The main issue I have is that the providers seem to think they need to "optimise" your connection, so they compress the images so the quality is really poor, they also seem to do other things to "enhance" the performance of the connection which actually degrade it.

Regarding interactivity as mentioned in the article, I've actually had a perfectly acceptable VOIP conversation using Vonage over my 3G dongle, the person I was speaking to and I noticed no difference in quality or anything else between that / a normal ADSL VOIP call / PSTN call. So their is hope.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Perhaps the key is to move to rural Scotland, in central London where I make the most use of my connection it varies a fair bit even when not moving.

On the overground trains the embankments cause all sorts of issues, and once past M25 it tends to be GRPS only.

150ms latency still rules out gaming, but should be fine for voice. As websites become more like web applications interactivity is increasing, i.e. functionality is split between browser and server.
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