Building upon its solid base of more than 1 Billion connections, HSPA+ is evolving to offer even better user experience, and cost-effectively connect more people, devices, and things. One of its key features, HSPA+ carrier aggregation has become main stream and is expanding to support more carriers and in the uplink.
HSPA+ is now available on more than 360 networks across 160 countries, of which about 160 networks have already been upgraded to dual-carrier HSPA+ (Feb 2014), delivering peak downlink data rates of 42 Mbps. The evolution continues, bringing-in more carrier aggregation, HetNets enhancements, even more features to increase the capacity for bursty applications, supporting the explosion of smartphones and internet of everything (IoE) devices.
With all its advancements, HSPA+ evolution has a key role to play in addressing the 1000x mobile data challenge.
HSPA family is already the largest mobile broadband technology today, and will continue to lead, with about 2.5 billion connections expected by 2016. WCDMA/HSPA+ will evolve to support more carrier aggregation—in the uplink, across bands, more carriers, across cell etc., will bring WCDMA+ to free-up resources for HSPA+ data, HetNet optimizations and more.
Carrier aggregation brings higher data rates, higher capacity for bursty applications, and an enhanced broadband experience for all users. As a first-step, HSPA+ commercialized aggregation across two carriers (aka dual-carrier) back in 2010, as part of Rel. 8. Carrier aggregation has been evolving since then, bringing it to the uplink, supporting more bands, more carriers, across paired and unpaired spectrum (Supplemental Down Link), across cells (Multiflow) and more.
Qualcomm Technologies has introduced chipset solutions that support the strong evolution of HSPA+ carrier aggregation evolution. Our common LTE/HSPA+ platforms support aggregation of up 3 HSPA+ carriers in the downlink, dual-carrier in the uplink, as well as aggregation across bands (e.g. 2.1GHz and 900MHz).
HSPA+ evolution is well-equipped to effectively address the challenge of bursty and very frequent connectivity of smartphones and especially of the much anticipated wave of internet-of-everything devices. HSPA+ evolution has a series of enhancements starting from Rel. 7 until Rel 11 and beyond that reduce the signaling load and provide more than 10-fold increase in the capacity of such bursty connections. Reduced signaling also yields extended battery life for devices.
HSPA+ plays a key role in helping operators to address the 1000x data challenge. HetNets optimizations such as “Range Expansion” are possible today. Future enhancements such as Multiflow which allow carrier aggregation across macros and small cells, advanced receivers, and interference mitigation techniques improve their performance even further.
Apart from small cells, HSPA+ incorporates features such as supplemental downlink, as well as efficiency improvement mechanisms such as smartphone signaling/IoE enhancements. All of these make HSPA+ a potent 1000x enabler.