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HSPA+ Advanced: Multiflow

The emergence of smartphones, tablets and highly capable mobile applications has led to a tremendous growth in the adoption of mobile data services. The generated traffic leads to much higher utilization of HSPA+ networks, ultimately creating challenges for network operators.

In addition, cellular users in typical urban areas tend to be highly mobile. Localized concentrations of these users can cause networks to become unevenly loaded, thus impacting user experience. Another issue mobile users face is throughput degradation as they move away from base stations towards the cell edge.

HSPA+ Multiflow helps to mitigate these challenges by exploiting available spare capacity in adjacent sectors. This results in:

  • Improvements to cell edge user experience: Providing more consistent throughputs across the network.
  • Improvements to radio resource and backhaul utilization: Assigning unused resources from adjacent sectors to mobile terminals in the handover region which balances network load.
Multiflow allows aggregation of 2, 3 or 4 carriers in handover regions.

HSPA+ Multiflow can be seen as an extension of the existing Multi-Carrier HSPA+ (MC-HSPA+) Carrier Aggregation technology. While MC-HSPA+ allows aggregation of independent data streams from multiple frequency carriers in the same sector, HSPA+ Multiflow allows aggregation of these carriers from two adjacent sectors on either the same or neighboring NodeBs.

Single Frequency Dual Cell HSPA (SFDC-HSPA): The simplest form of HSPA+ MultiFlow which allows aggregation of two independent data streams on the same frequency carrier from two adjacent sectors. SFDC-HSPA provides benefits to users in 5 MHz deployments.

Multiflow SF-DC Network Capacity Gains

Dual Frequency 3 & 4 Carrier ( DF-3C & DF-4C): Allows aggregation across three or four carriers from two adjacent sectors. DF-3C & DF-4C provide benefits to users in 10 MHz deployments and resulting in substantial improvement in network capacity.

Multiflow DF-3C & DF-4C Network Capacity Gains

It is important to note, that in keeping with its tradition of mobile technology leadership:

  • Qualcomm was the first company to demonstrate Single Frequency Multiflow (SFDC) at MWC in 2011 on its prototype test platform
  • Qualcomm along with Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) jointly demonstrated SFDC at MWC in 2012 with Qualcomm prototype mobile phones on NSN’s commercial multicontroller base stations

HSPA+ Multiflow has been standardized in 3GPP Release 11. Additional exciting announcements about this next-generation technology will be posted on this page soon.

For more detail on this research please refer to the white papers and videos listed on this page.