Even Faster Wireless Broadband: Ericsson Demos 56 Mbps Network

Wireless broadband keeps getting faster and faster. Ericsson, a Sweden-based telecom equipment maker today showed off a new technology that boosts High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) speeds to 56 Mbps. HSPA is part of the technology migration path for today’s 3G networks to what are generically termed 3.5G networks. The company had previously showed off a wireless broadband network with peak downlink speeds of 42 Mbps at the recent Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. Today’s HSPA networks can support speeds of up to 21Mbps.

The new peak downlink data rates of 56 Mbps were achieved through a combination of multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) and multicarrier HSPA technology. Ericsson is showing off the technology at CTIA in Las Vegas. HSPA multicarrier technology with MIMO, which is currently being standardized, is scheduled for commercial deployment in 2010. By the end of 2009, Ericsson will support commercial deployment of multicarrier technology with speeds up to 42 Mbps.

According to Ericsson:

Today’s commercial HSPA devices can make use of only one 5MHz channel at a time. With the introduction of multi-carrier consumer devices, data from two or more 5MHz channels can be received simultaneously by one consumer. The data stream is split over the used channels in the radio base station to get higher speeds. With MIMO, a base station can send data twice as fast via two different antenna paths on the same frequency to a single consumer.

In other words, it’s possible to see even faster broadband on wireless networks. Ericsson thinks that in the very near future, networks could run as fast as 84 Mbps. Of course, since all these are peak download rates, what you and I are actually going to get in terms of speed is a whole different ball of wax. That depends on the amount of bandwidth available on the backhaul networks.

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