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The future potential of High Speed Uplink Packet Access in existing 3G networks

Press Release – September 18th, 2007

The 3rd generation cellular mobile networks are continuously undergoing heavy development, and especially technologies related to packet data transmission are evolving rapidly. In order to overcome the issue of uplink being a bottleneck for data services an upgrade, WCDMA Enhanced Uplink (EUL), is specified in the most recent version of UMTS standard release 6. 

In this paper concrete results from a study assessing the upcoming performance of the new system is presented. The main goal is to give an implication of how the Enhanced Uplink will perform in existing 3G networks and even more important, to show what the key factors are affecting achievable bitrates and the quality of service.

Due to the complexity of the system and different available optimisation strategies, remarkable difference between vendors’ equipment is to be expected, at least in the beginning of EUL evolution.

During the study it was also evident that although high bitrates of over 5 Mbps are promised for Enhanced Uplink, only approximately 2.5 Mbps is achievable in practical large scale networks, even with the most advanced future terminals. Still, according to the case study carried out, at least the denser part of the investigated network was very suitable for EUL implementation. It was found that in most cases the terminal capabilities are not the limiting factor and the site density is mostly sufficient for providing high data rates of up to 1.4 Mbps in the early phase of the evolution.

From operator point of view, the system seems to be extremely feasible. Mainly with software updates an operator is able to reach improved quality of service, capacity and coverage, hence we expect rapid penetration.

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