HSDPA and HSPA are the best version of 3G mobile broadband. Learn about this fast 3G HSDPA cellular mobile technology that some call 4G network.

HSDPA Overview

>HSPA uses two different transferring methods:


HSDPA – High Speed Downlink Packet Access together with the HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access are different versions of the HSPA – High Speed Packet Access technology. HSUPA is also called EUL – Enhanced Uplink.

Just to remind you that downlink direction means from the mobile network toward the cell phone. Uplink direction is from the cell phone to the mobile network.

HSPA technology is improved version of the WCDMA – Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. The most important thing was to improve the download speed in 3G mobile network. This was accomplished with the HSDPA and maximum peak rates of 14.4 Mbps.

Technology Features

The most important features of this technology are:

  • Increased speed
  • Reduced latency
  • Better user experience with the applications like streaming and gaming
  • Shared channel and multicode transmission.


HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access is second part of the HSPA and the improvement of the basic WCDMA technology. It increases the speed of the uplink data transfer up to 5.8 Mbps.

The most important upgrades of the HSUPA are:

  • Increases uplink data rates up to 5.8 Mbps
  • Reduces latency
  • It enables VoIP applications

Extensions and Enhancements of the HSPA Technology

There are a few extensions of the HSPA (HSDPA and HSUPA) technology:

  • HSPA+

HSPA+ (Evolved High Speed Packet Access)

HSPA+ (Evolved High Speed Packet Access) is the extension of the HSPA

The new features of the HSPA+ are:

  • It is backward compatible with the original version of the HSPA and WCDMA.
  • Maximum downlink speed is 84 Mbps
  • Maximum uplink speed is 10 Mbps
  • It uses 2×2 MIMO
  • 64 QAM modulation

DC-HSDPA (Dual-Carrier HSDPA)

DC-HSDPA – Dual-Carrier HSDPA or Dual-Cell HSDPA is enhancement of the HSDPA. It enables users to connect to the two cells at once. With this user has theoretically double downlink speeds.

The features are:

  • One user can connect two cells in the downlink direction
  • Improvement of the QoS – Quality of Service

DC-HSUPA (Dual-Carrier HSUPA)

DC-HSUPA or Dual-Carrier HSUPA is a similar HSPA enhancement, but it is applied in the uplink direction. It can also be called Dual-Cell HSUPA.

The features are:

  • One user can connect two cells in the uplink direction
  • Improvement of the QoS – Quality of Service

MC-HSPA (Multi-Carrier HSPA)

MC-HSPA or Multi-Carrier HSPA uses similar enhancement as DC-HSDPA and DC-HSUPA. The difference is that instead of two channels, it enables connecting to four or even eight carriers at once.

The following enhancements are included in the MC-HSPA technology:

  • One user can connect to the four or eight carriers
  • 4X4 MIMO
  • Maximum theoretical transfer rate up to 672 Mbps

The Real Speeds in the HSDPA and HSUPA Versions

When you see all these amazing speeds, especially 672 Mbps in MC-HSPA, you can be amazed. But don’t be happy too soon. The real speed you can get in the real environment are much lower.

Some mobile operators were using the name 4G for the HSPA and its enhancements. This classification is wrong. All HSDPA and HSUPA versions are 3G mobile network. LTE – Long Term Evolution, the real 4G mobile broadband connection, has much higher real speed. Beside the speeds of the data transfer, LTE has more benefits compared to the HSDPA.

If you are interested to find out more about the differences between 3G and 4G, read the post 3G vs 4G – What is a Better Mobile Internet Connection.

Learn even more about the HSPA and HSDPA in the article HSPA – High Speed Packet Access Tutorial.

HSPA and HSDPA – How Does it Work?

Check the short video tutorial about the HSPA technology below.

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