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Beyond 3G — Practical Cellular Internet Access 116

Posted by Hemos
from the going-faster-and-faster dept.
PreacherTom writes "For years 3G, or 'third generation,' denoted some future wireless utopia where voice, data, and video would all merge into a wondrous amalgam, marked by snazzy phones that do everything perfectly — and fast. There is indeed a new wireless utopia, and again, it's about merging voice, data, and all the other stuff at even faster speeds. It is known as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, or HSDPA, and it has started appearing on wireless networks operated by companies such as Vodaphone in Europe and Cingular Wireless in the U.S. Meanwhile, South Korea's Samsung has even started building HSDPA-ready phones. The technology promises wireless speeds as high as 3.6 Mbps but in practice will be much slower than that — fast enough, though, to make wirelessly surfing the Web and downloading music and video well worth the effort."
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Beyond 3G — Practical Cellular Internet Access

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  • Doesn't some IP firm have a patent on this?

    Taking bets on how many companies will try!
  • Not to sound like a troll, but in what ways is this different than the technologies already out there (like EvDO)?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I believe that this protocol allows for simultaneous data and voice, whereas EvDO allows for only one or the other. I think that's what my girlfriend explained to me (she's a Cingular employee). Cue the comments about my girlfriend teaching me about tech...
  • Lack of substance (Score:5, Informative)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday November 06, 2006 @09:56AM (#16735181) Homepage Journal

    The article seems information-free, largely hype with no substance, by someone who appears to have limited understanding of the issues. Even Vodafone is spelt incorrectly.

    HSDPA is actually just an improved version of W-CDMA, the underlying air-interface standard used by the UMTS and FOMA 3G standards. It's an incremental improvement on W-CDMA, it brings more bandwidth but more importantly it brings lower (sub-100ms round-trip ping) latency. HSUPA is the "next step" from HSDPA (HSDPA concentrates on the downlink, HSUPA combines with HSDPA and improves the uplink) and brings better-than-DSL latency to UMTS.

    There's nothing that revolutionary about the whole thing. It's still essentially "3G" (which is mostly a marketing phrase anyway) mobile phone technology. Bandwidth is still limited enough that you'll not see operators marketing it as a true alternative to DSL in the same way as, say, WiMax will be.

    The article itself seems a little wierd. It's as if someone just found out about SMS text messaging and is enthused about it. HSDPA isn't new, it's been part of Cingular's UMTS roll-out for the two years or so they've been playing with UMTS. Nor is it significantly better or worse than EVDO revision A, which is being rolled out by Sprint at the moment (though there are advantages in the fact that HSDPA is generally implemented with UMTS at the upper levels, rather than the AMPS-derived upper-level protocols that IS-95/IS-2000 networks like Sprint's use.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by gerhard (300927)
      Actually, KDDI in Japan already rolled out EVDO in December 2003. see: www.eurotechnology.com/3G/ [eurotechnology.com] Gerhard
      • Not sure what you're trying to say. Did you respond to the wrong comment or did I imply something that I'm not seeing? I don't think I mentioned Japan, except indirectly by mentioning FOMA, and the only reference I made to EVDO being rolled out was Revision A.
    • by netnuevo (699713)
      Thanks for your high signal-to-noise ratio comment.
  • GSM is fine by me.

     
    • by garcia (6573)
      GSM is fine by me.

      That's because very few devices allow you to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new bandwidth of these services.

      Contrary to popular marketing, people don't routinely download music and video on their phones via their phone's Internet connection. Why? Because the screens are too small, it's too expensive to do (because they charge you per song in addition to the Internet usage fees), and the devices themselves are poorly constructed for mobile Internet usage (for the
      • Here in the US, there are two main kinds of "data" plans - phone-only service (even if it's called "unlimited", it's still limited to your phone), and PC-usable service, either with PC-card (aka PCMCIA) or phone+USB/Bluetooth. Typical price ranges for "unlimited" service are $30 for phone-only and $80-120 for PC.

        Phone-only service is boring, and doesn't need high data rates. Not only do most phones have screens that are too small (though a Treo has a bigger screen than the video iPods), but the audio on p

  • 0 kph, I guess... How well does it behave when you're in your car at, say, 50 km/h? Or in a train at 100 km/h?

    What's the fastest you can move you make cell handover feasible? That's one of the issues of 3G, isn't it?
    • by CompMD (522020)
      I'm able to converse with someone over Skype using EVDO on Sprint. Works fine while crusing the highway.
  • we can have open standards for phones that'll allow us to run any (even unsigned!) software. Otherwise, the media that we'll be able to download on phones will come encumbered by DRM and other garbage restrictions. MS is the worst offender here, BTW. Windows Mobile phones come locked down and won't run a lot of 3rd party apps unless you apply some hacks that reduce security. This is even true of phones that are not locked to a provider's network.

    -b.

    • by nasch (598556)
      Windows Mobile phones come locked down and won't run a lot of 3rd party apps unless you apply some hacks that reduce security.
      How so? I've never had to apply a hack to run any 3rd-party program on my WM 2003 phone.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        How so? I've never had to apply a hack to run any 3rd-party program on my WM 2003 phone.

        Micro$oft in their infinite wisdom started requiring tru$ted applications starting with WM2005.

        -b.

        • by halo1982 (679554)
          And I've never had to apply any hacks to run any third party software on my WM5 based Treo 700wx or PPC-6700.
        • by djrogers (153854)
          I call bollocks. Pure FUD - nobody I have ever heard of has ever run into a problem running an unsigned app on their WM2005 phones, including me. And in spite of what others in this thread has implied, my carrier (Verizon) does not lock the smartphone down either.
  • I fear that technology speed is too high when compared to mobile Internet access speed.
    There is too little time in order to get those technologies more mature, wider spread and accepted.
    As of today GPRS/EDGE is the real solution (at least in Europe) unless you want to mimick your xDSL.
    Instead of putting money in those 3rd, 4th and 5th technology dreams I would both enhance the services and lower the cost for both the services and the terminals.

    • by magixman (883752)
      What I don't understand is why GPRS/EDGE is so much slower here in the U.S. at least on the Cingular network. When I travel almost anywhere outside of the U.S. with the same laptop, phone and the same Cingular account my speed is much faster and would almost be usable for surfing were it not for the huge data bill I get upon return home.
      • As it is a quite deep stack of protocols, reasons can be variuos, from poor RF coverage to slower IP routing.
        Maybe choosing a hotel with Internet service can be a better and cheaper solution!
      • by yodhan (1023633)
        I am making an assumption, with this one, but I assume you are using one of the Cingular Wireless PCMCIA data cards in the United States that lets you roam internationally on any GSM network, possibly the Sierra or the Sony Ericsson, and you are not in a UMTS network area such as North Texas. If that is the case, the reason the network speeds in the United States are slower than they are out of the country is because UMTS is not available everywhere as of yet. From what I can remember/gather from my last tr
    • by yacc143 (975862)
      What a bullshit.

      GPRS/EDGE/UMTS are here and quite useable.

      The prices in Germany are acceptable (UMTS flatrates are available), and even in Austria they are reasonable for staying connected all time via say a Nokia Communicator.

      Yes, it's not there yet, that every kid has it. But prices are starting to become reasonable for professional work.

      And the biggest problem is not the price, IMHO, it's the latency issue. HSPDA is only a partial solution, because it's currently available only on some providers, plus it
  • Take your pick..
    • WiMAX such as FLASH-OFDM
    • UMTS-TDD
    • TD-SCDMA
    • HSDPA

    Digita is building country-wide solution [digita.fi] in Finland based on first one.
    What's interesting about their project, is that they started building in mind of covering all rural areas before offering service to larger cities.
    • by abushga (864910) *
      >Digita is building country-wide solution in Finland based on first one.
      >What's interesting about their project, is that they started building in mind of
      >covering all rural areas before offering service to larger cities.

      Rah! I live in the boonies and slurp bandwith from the next town with a glorified Pringles solution; cable & DSL will never be available. Wish USA telcos would utilize wireless technologies to make broadband widely available instead of expanding a Smörgåsbord of soluti
  • Awesome! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dpaluszek (974028)
    Now I can watch Bangbus while I wait at the DMV office! What could I ever do without something like this guys?!!!

    ....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What, no link?
  • I regularly travel between several countries in Europe and would like to use one method to access the internet in all countries. But what I've found is that the "roaming" charges are huge, and if you get, say, access from a UK mobile company it treats the rest of Europe as "abroad" and you pay huge roaming charges, even if it is with the same company.

    Anyone know of a way to do this, with good speeds and reasonable prices?
    • Live in America, and travel there with an American based plan. That should get rid of roaming charges unless you get a poor plan.
      • Sorry but it still costs more to make calls in Europe than the US with an American plan.

        T-Mobile USA charge $0.99, $1.99 or $2.99 per minute for calls made whilst overseas.
        T-Mobile UK charge £0.50 to £1.40 ($0.95 to $2.66) per minute for calls made whilst overseas.

        My my maths (With an exchange rate of 1.9 USD to GBP) it's cheaper to roam from the UK than it is to roam from the US.
        • Not by much. The dollar is weak versus the pound, it used to be 1 pound = $1.80 for quite a while, now it is $1.90, which is quite inflated - if the US economy recovers and it goes back to $1.80 the US plan would be cheaper.
          • No you have it the wrong way roung.

            Roam in France with a US T-Mobile account $0.99 per minute.

            Roam in France with a UK one at 1:1.90 (0.5*1.9) $0.95
            Roam in France with a UK one at 1:1.80 (0.5*1.8) $0.90
            Roam in France with a UK one at 1:1.70 (0.5*1.7) $0.85

            In fact with T-Mobile's rates the only way for the US carrier to be cheaper is for the US to loose even more against the pound and hit the magical 1:2 ratio!

            Roam in France with a UK one at 1:2 (0.5*2.0) $1

            That's right - to save a penny on your roaming r
        • I am saying don't travel to Europe and Live in America :-)
        • I think the guy was talking about data charges.

          Absurdly high voice charges are easily gotten around, you just buy a pre-paid SIM Card for the place you're going to visit, and redirect your calls to the new number before you swap over. I've always found it surprising roaming charges haven't dropped given the ease with which this can be done.

    • Hey, guess what - the rest of Europe is "abroad", in much the same was as the US or any other country.

      The roaming charges stem from increased competition in the domestic markets pruning the monies raised from a finite number of local subscribers.

      In the beginning (I'm talking about 10 years ago here) I could roam abroad for just 120% of the local charge for a call. Now it can be 1000%.

      The easiest way of getting reliable connectivity is to use someone like T-Mobile's hotspots. THey bill consistently and cheap
  • I have a 3G phone (Orange SPV M3100) - no problems with the speed at all.

    The problem is prohibitive data prices - at £4 a megabyte from Orange, I literally can not afford to use it.
    • by mccalli (323026)
      The problem is prohibitive data prices - at £4 a megabyte from Orange, I literally can not afford to use it.

      You might want to investigate T-Mobile's Web'n'Walk [t-mobile.co.uk] plans. I've switched over to them from Vodafone, for specifically this reason. i pay about £7.50 more per month that I paid under Vodafone, but I have a 2gig data transfer limit instead of paying £1 per megabyte.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by skinfitz (564041)
        Thanks - I'm aware of web'n'walk but firstly T-Mobile's service is crap where I live, secondly their handsets come in a crap brown or very gay pink compared with Orange's black.

        Finally 'web'n'walk' is web only - it's not all ports and protocols (although they tried to tell me in the shop that it was 'full internet access'), however they have been threatening to cancel the contracts of users running Skype [reghardware.co.uk].

        Orange do an 'off peak' for £5 a month where 'off-peak' is after 7pm until 7am weekdays and al
        • by mccalli (323026)
          Finally 'web'n'walk' is web only - it's not all ports and protocols

          I know they limit VoIP, but I'm happily using ssh/sftp, ftp, iChat (AOL's IM client protocol, Jabber, iSync etc.. It's not purely a web service, just VoIP that's limited as far as I know. Not perfection, but compared to £1 a meg I'm prepared to overlook quite a few flaws...

          Cheers,
          Ian
          • by skinfitz (564041)
            Interesting - perhaps they are only monitoring VoIP (as obviously it would cut into their revenue).
            • by mickwd (196449)
              T-Mobile do web n' walk basic, Pro and max services. The Max is £12.50/month (I think) with a 10GB/month limit, and the ability to use VoIP. The Pro is £7.50 a month with a 3GB/month limit, with VoIP prohibited. Both allow use as a computer modem, which is great for wireless internet access anywhere (falling back to GPRS in non-3G areas).

              Compared to the other providers in the UK, it's great value.
        • Finally 'web'n'walk' is web only - it's not all ports and protocols (although they tried to tell me in the shop that it was 'full internet access'), however they have been threatening to cancel the contracts of users running Skype.

          I am using EDGE access on TIM [www.tim.it] in Italy, and have flat plan with 9 Giga for 25 euro/month in evenings and at weekends. I must say, that the quality of the service is very unreliable. Sometimes I may see a download at 200 kbps, but sometimes I can hardly browse the web.

          While I

    • Hey, I'm in the happy Orange £4 a meg club too. The only thing I've found which assuages my impotent rages is the Opera mobile browser. - http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/ [opera.com].
      It compresses the data before it gets to your phone,and YMMV but I get about 30-50% extra for the money. Sadly, it's so much better than the comedy Orange browser that I use it twice as often.
  • These 3G wireless services are all locked down by the telecom companies. I just bought a phone from T-Mobile that purports to support Java applications, and I have a data plan. However, it turns out that T-Mobile locks out Java applications that T-Mobile did not itself distribute. I cannot use the new Mobile Google Mail application, nor can I use Google Maps on my phone. It's not because the phone does not support it, but because T-Mobile has decided that it can enforce vendor lock-in with DRM'd Java ap
    • Google the model of your phone and the word "unlock".
      • by 6 (22657)
        That is not what is meant by the phrase, "unlocking a phone". In general what that does is allow a phone to utilize a sim card on any network. Unlocked phones still have whatever signing and certificate restrictions were built into their Java system.

        Even worse, many phones sold as, "unlocked", through Amazon are unable to utilize even correctly countersigned binaries from the carriers since the phone lacks the correct carrier root certificate.

        • That is not what is meant by the phrase, "unlocking a phone". In general what that does is allow a phone to utilize a sim card on any network. Unlocked phones still have whatever signing and certificate restrictions were built into their Java system.

          I agree that usually unlocking a phone means being able to use a sim from any provider. Some phones can be unlocked to the point (and that's what I meant here) where restrictions to software on the phone can be overridden.
    • by rhavenn (97211)
      One can get around this by buying a non-subsidized phone, one that is completely vendor neutral, but these cost considerably more, to the point of making it economically unappealing.

      anyone got any links about more info on doing this?
    • by ptbarnett (159784)
      And judging by my recent reading of the various newsgroups and forums, it's not just T-Mobile that does this -- pretty much they all do.

      I just downloaded and installed the Mobile Google Mail application on my Cingular phone, and it works fine.

    • by koehn (575405) *
      These 3G wireless services are all locked down by the telecom companies. I just bought a phone from T-Mobile that purports to support Java applications, and I have a data plan. However, it turns out that T-Mobile locks out Java applications that T-Mobile did not itself distribute. I cannot use the new Mobile Google Mail application, nor can I use Google Maps on my phone. It's not because the phone does not support it, but because T-Mobile has decided that it can enforce vendor lock-in with DRM'd Java apps.

      N
      • This depends on the phone.

        I bought (and returned) a T-mobile Samsung T809 because it cannot run Google Local for Mobile, or any other unsigned java app. I've had T-mobile for years, I'm a T-mobile "Platinum" customer (meaning that the CS people are really nice to me), and they've unlocked many phones for me.

        T-mobile will not admit that they ordered T809s that require signed apps, and Samsung says the problem is squarely on T-mobile's end.
    • by MysticOne (142751)
      I have the same problem with my phone from T-Mobile. The only way to fix it, at least of which I'm aware, is to send it off to somebody and have them re-flash the phone with the original firmware. That will remove all the little T-Mobileisms, any protections they have on the phone, etc., and make it possible for you to do what the phone was intended to do. The unlocking that others are talking about in their response to your post is to make it possible to use your phone on other providers' networks (with
    • I have the Fusic from Sprint and I can run whatever.
    • by ncc74656 (45571) *

      And judging by my recent reading of the various newsgroups and forums, it's not just T-Mobile that does this -- pretty much they all do.

      Sprint doesn't. I moved my apps and data from my Tungsten T to my Treo 650 with no problems (and I've had some of those apps since I started with a PalmPilot Pro some 8 or 9 years ago). If a website offers up an uncompressed .prc, I can tap it in Blazer to download & install it; otherwise, I can unpack the zipfile on my computer and either HotSync it over or copy

  • I wish I could subscribe to a mobile phone provider just like any other internet service provider.

    Then I could choose whoever would charge me the least for the traffic, and I could do VoIP (or any standard TCP/IP traffic) with anyone on the internet without extra costs.

    Have the "phone" companies switched to end-to-end data calls yet? If so, why are we forced to use them for voice calls? Shouldn't I be able to use my SIP provider?

    90% of my phone calls are to people within thirty miles, a city-wide mesh netwo
    • by NitroWolf (72977)
      Because you are using their hardware to connect. The companies in question fronted the money to put up the cell sites that you are using, and thus you will pay them for the privilege to use them. Nominally, the companies paid for the cell sites, unlike say cable or telephone which was subsidized by the government. I know this is not true in all cases, but generally speaking, the cell phone companies put out billions of dollars to get their networks into shape and thus have a "right" to the profits.

      You'll
  • I have no problem with the speeds that evdo offers me. I can do everything I need with Verizon's EVDO. The only issue is the horrible latency. Not sure how much the HSDPA is going to help with that.
    • HSDPA isn't going to help your EVDO latency. HSDPA is an enhancement to W-CDMA, the air interface system used by UMTS. EVDO is a CDMA2000 standard, CDMA2000 being a competing standard with its own air interface standard.

      FWIW, oart of the reason for HSDPA is to lower latency on W-CDMA networks (by optimizing the downlink.) With HSDPA, latency on a UMTS network is about 100ms for a round-trip ping. Add HSUPA (which improves the uplink), and the latency drops to around 10ms.

      As far as lowering EVDO latency

  • fast enough, though, to make wirelessly surfing the Web and downloading music and video well worth the effort."

    Music? Yes.

    Web surfing for anything other than a quick information lookup? Maybe.

    But I do not comprehend the attraction of looking at video on a postage stamp sized (slight exaggeration) screen.
    • Think modems, as in external devices. With these phones you could be anywhere with your laptop, connect them, and have instant internet access at respectable speeds. Now you don't have to pay extra for whatever "hotspot" you happen to find yourself near.

      I admit it is not the most astounding technology out there, but it could be pretty useful. I know I've even used by Motorola cellphone as a dialup modem (recognized by Windows and Ubuntu Linux as a Hayes modem) to dial up a connection in a few circumst
  • The problem here is not technical. The problem is the high prices and restrictions on use.

    Most of these services are priced several times the cost of other Internet access and they all seem to have restrictions to limit access to brief email and browsing use. For instance, they specifically prohibit streaming music or video... unless, of course, you are paying them big extra bucks for their "special" DRM content.

    This will take off big when they get realistic about pricing and use but I don't think this

  • ..at least for me. I am being charged 45 bucks a month for EVDO on my Treo 700w from Verizon. I do like the EVDO, but I do not feel that the bang per buck is there. Better technology is good, but at current high price points I dont see adoption quite taking off. While EVDO is nice and relatively fast, there is no reason it should be about 50% more than my 6 Mbps cable modem at home.
  • I currently use Sprint's EvDO and get 1Mbps at my house and about 0.25Mbps at my office (lots of rebar/concrete tho). This would be a nice speed upgrade if it actually delivers. The one big drawback to the cell data tech is latency. Can't really play games too well, but on a good day its passable. I have the Samsung A940 attached to my MacBook right now via a charging/data usb cable. It also works great with bluetooth but the bandwidth is limited to bluetooth transfer speeds.
  • I, a college student, have next to no use for the EVDO provided by Verizon. Even if I had a use for it, I have to buy a separate (and expensive) data plan, a cell phone that supports DUN or an EVDO card. It's a wet dream to be on the internet at any given moment, but we're still some ways off from DSL-like speed on the pooper or on a train to Odessa (or both).

    The market for cellular internet is small right now, catering to the business professional or the extreme geek. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to w
  • I made the geek-error of buying a house before inquiring about Internet access. The location was great -- a huge lake just 100 yards in my back yard. Lovely setting. No Internet. I was depressed. Researched and researched options to finally decide to try GPRS through Cingular.

    I will say that as far as surfing at home I might as well have bought a land line and used dialup. The connectivity simply blew. Yes, I'm talking GPRS here as someone will surely point out is inferior, but that's not the wors
    • Sounds like you need to get your message out on http://consumerist.com/ [consumerist.com] The fact is, most cell phone companies have horrible service and are still trying to figure out how to sell high speed data services to non-enterprise users. I make my living working on high speed mobile data access, and I don't personally subscribe to any of them. The pricing is doesn't make sense, and the coverage is spotty.
    • by mypalmike (454265)
      When things get that bad, you have to write a letter and mail it. Talking to a clerk at a store or a service rep on the phone is wasting your time (and theirs). A clearly written letter to the company, with a CC to the Better Business Bureau, and this kind of crap goes away fast.
      • by Himring (646324)
        I think you are correct. I definitely learned some hard lessons in all of that, but bottom line, I should have resolved to a formal letter which I never did. I did get it resolved by forcing managers to actually do their job, but it took two months.

        The error in my thinking was assuming these people would do as good a job as I would, were I in their shows....

  • Cingular & T-Mobile customer service people can't even explain how to set up a Bluetooth capable phone to get low speed internet access to a laptop (believe me I tried with these people).

    Then the website help areas are, not surprisingly, NO HELP. Out of date instructions, etc.

    The average customer service person is someone young, out of work, lacking skills, not very motivated, and probably making $10/hr and figuring on 'moving out & up' fast, and not interested in learning.

    If "NEXT GENERATION" cell
  • I believe Telstra here in australia is pushing this whole "wireless broadband HSDPA" thing.
    Although personally I have no plans to go near it untill Motorola have a HSDPA capable phone.
  • solution... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 06, 2006 @11:04AM (#16736141) Homepage
    force these carriers to charge sane rates. Come on, all this hype about internet, broadband speeds, listen to music and watch tv on your phone is all great until you see your first bill and crap bricks as it adds up to $200 a month. SMS messages are insanely overpriced, now companies are going back to charging per incoming and outgoing messages.... and people on plans that are supposedly their "good" customers get gouged while the pay as you go people get the best rates on internet and SMS messaging.

    Cripes I dropped my Nextel for a Boost Moble and cut my work phone bill in 1/2 and kept all the features I had. I still have a blackberry and still get email (*not through the BB service or app but a jme app) I get 24/7 unlimited internet access that my laptop happily still uses, and 2 way "beep-beep" they like to call it, and pay HALF of what I paid on a plan.

    none of this will take off until the phone companies stop screwing the customers that are loyal and signed up for a plan/contract...

    Then we get to coverage, most cellphone companies have crap coverage, my family has personal cingular phones and they recently did a change to the tower software ot hold onto a call as long as possible... so you dont get a dropped call. you get a 30-60 seconds of silence until you get fed up and press end... OHH! fewer dropped calls!!! my ass. my stepson has a "go phone" cingular's prepaid... he get's SMS for $0.05 each outgoing and free incoming..... while as a good doobie contract holder I pay $0.10 for every incoming AND outgoing...

    They can develop all the technology they want, the customers will not use it or want it until it's not at gouge you to hell prices...
  • by Chacham (981)
    It is known as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, or HSDPA

    UUWAW (Unfinished Unpronounceable Wearisome Acronym With) (pronounced ooh-wahw) with the added bonus of starting with a vowel, so people can debated whether the preceding word is "a" or "an", refers tio a list of acronbyms made, just to be acronyms.

    "HSDPA" doesn't sound whizzbangy, but is useless and hard to pronounce. Definitely a low qualifier.
  • People who blather on about "Downloading songs," "Surfing the Internet" and "Watching Video" on cellphones (or other similar sized devices) are either ignorant of the interface obstacles, or heavily invested in Wireless stock. It's not the lack of speed that prevents people from doing these activites on their PDA/Phone, because people on dial-up (yes, there are millions of folks in the US who are still in that world) do all of them on their PCs. The videos may just be clips, but folks are downloading them.

    T
    • Or a USB or Ethernet jack to attach to a laptop.
      • or get a really long extension cord and put a WiMax card in your desktop.

        But that still doesn't answer the main question, which is how usable is this as a mobile technology? If you're talking about sitting in Starbucks or at the bookstore and using your laptop, then why not use the (free?) WiFi there? Maybe if you're on the train, you might have your laptop and the need for highspeed (some of the trains here have WiFi), but how many people do you know (outside the /. crowd) who take their laptop with them e
  • The problem with GPRS, in the UK at least is the cost. It's ridiculously expensive for non-business contracts to be used to check even your email, let alone streaming music and video.

    I would love to have my phone used for sending and receiving email, browsing the web, checking my RSS feeds, and using IM, but I simply can't justify the cost.
  • PCs have at least XGA, 1024*768 pixels *24 color bits *30FPS = over 550Mbps [google.com] just for video display (the vast majority of needed bandwidth). Even compressing that by 20x is over 25Mbps. But mobile phones' much smaller screens are probably quite good looking with QVGA, 320*240, 55Mbps [google.com], perhaps compressible to 5Mbps or less, maybe 3Mbps.

    500Kbps compressed audio will also complement the small, detailed screen with the (relatively) hifi audio that is the priority for mobile media.

    Which puts HSDPA's 3.6Mbps max r
    • Your estimates of bandwidth are way, way, way, way, way off.

      Don't forget compression.

      AT&T is delivering 3 SD TV streams, and 1 1080p HDTV stream, over a 19 Mbps connection.
      With a modern codec you can do full screen XGA video (less bandwidth than 720p) in 6 Mbit/s. Apple does 720p Quicktime Trailers at 6 Mbit/s.

      For comparison's sake, they do 1080p trailers at 9 Mbit/s, and 480p at under 2 Mbit/s.

      Similarly 500 Kbps is WAY over kill. Most people say that stereo MP3's compressed at 384 Kbps are indistinguis
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        What do you mean, "don't forget compression"? In my post, I mentioned compression at every turn - even 20x compression for the "baseline" XGA. And again in the mobile scenario. And again, explicitly, for the audio. Which I can very much tell is better at 500Kbps than at 384Kbps, especially in the headphones that mobile devices prioritize.

        I'm not sure which post you're replying to. Because the mobile screen I detailed is QVGA, not QXGA.

        I have not seen/heard the AT&T streaming you mention. But since it's
        • No, seriously, I don't know why you are arguing.

          Please re-read my post.

          The bitrates you specify do not come close to the bitrates currently being acheived via modern video compression (H.264). AT&T's Project Lightspeed is a drop-in cable replacement service, and is currently operating IPTV over Fiber-To-The-Node, with VDSL providing the last leg, at a total of 25 Mbit/sec per residence.

          The quality is supposedly pretty good; though I doubt it is as good as a conventional cable provider.

          And the "QXGA" I w
    • Also, as a follow up to my previous content, you do not need to match your display's resolution bit-for-bit. When was the last time you watched "native resolution" footage on your PC? 3D rendered content via your graphics card does not count ;-)
  • I wish they would actually take a technology and push it all the way out first before jumping on the next thing. Get coverage everywhere--even small towns. The way it is now, someone intros something new, it gets rolled out to the large cities because they have more people. Then something new comes along, and the first product is abandoned and the new one is rolled out to the large cities. The people in smaller population centers end up with nothing despite all the promises of great coverage.
  • Blah blah blah faster blah blah blah voice and data blah blah blah it's gunna be awesome blah blah blah dynamic synergistic vertical integration category-killer blah blah blah buy a new handset blah blah blah it doesn't fucking work blah blah blah 3G/wCDMA was supposed to do the same thing . . . blah blah blah same old shit at twice the price . . .
  • How much will the service cost though? If I remember right, Blackberries use 3G right? Which happens to cost around $60 to $80 USD monthly, correct? So I would have to assume that this new "HSDPA" (advice to marketing: don't use confusing naming conventions, lest people be tongue-tied when they try to order it) would either cost over $80 USD monthly, or the current network would have to drop the price of the monthly bill - why pay for the old one if the new one is faster AND costs the same?
  • Blah blah blah standards disagreement blah blah blah patent fight blah blah blah implementation delayed 20 years blah blah blah obsolete when implemented blah blah blah . . .
  • I was just asking about this in a Tokyo shop last week. NTT DoCoMo now has a phone out (they made it look cyber-like but it is uglier than their other nice looking phones) as well as a pcmcia version for hsdpa (3.6 Mbps). News about it (from May) here [cnet.com].

    I was told that you need a separate provider (I have NiftyServe, which I use to get a login account on my home fiber connection from Tokyo Gas, which I can use apparently). There are 64K, 384K and 3.6M (2 models) but I am still trying to figure out just what

  • WiMAX [wikipedia.org] is currenty under development in our laboratories - it's like WiFi access everywhere.
    Believe me, it's worth some patience.

    /Joss
  • Due to different technologies, it is *much* easier to overlay EVDO on CDMA2000 systems than it is to overlay UMTS on GSM systems. That is why in the US all the CDMA2000 carriers (Verizon, Alltell, sprint?) are adding 3G (>1megabit) capable services quickly (broadband access, video clips). In fact, Verizon broadband is readily available in most metropolitan areas (my business friends love it). GSM carriers will be slower, with only Cingular having enough radio spectrum to deploy UMTS (W-CDMA, different fr
    • by VP (32928)
      Right, keep dreaming. Even countries like Bulgaria have HSDPA [cellular-news.com] (sometimes called G3.5). Note the date - Sept. 2005.
    • EVDO is one form of CDMA2000, it's not something you add as such.

      More importantly though, the issue with W-CDMA isn't that it's different technology, it's that it requires 5MHz of spectrum in each direction, and existing PCS operators frequently only have 5MHz of spectrum to begin with in many areas of the country. This is a temporary disadvantage, as for the most part the intention has been to use new spectrum promised by various governments. The designers of UMTS largely relied upon those promises, and

  • Hello! Here in Portugal we have about 1 Million HSDPA users. Many people are connected using 1.8 Mbps cards from HUAWEI and now the GSM/3G Providers are making the switch to 3.6 Mbps USB Dongles. The service costs 39,90 Euro and includes a 5 Gb download limit. Currently there's a promotion of unlimited access until 31 December 2006 (which will probably be extended). Since I'm always on the run, and I noticed how stable the system is, I dropped my ADSL line at home. Happy user am I.
  • Yes, you read that right - there only one HSDPA-capable phone [phonescoop.com] available in the US (from Cingular).
  • I am a proud owner of a 3.5G card (HSDPA) and I have some notes about its usability.

    I live in Portugal, and not even 3G is accessible in every zone. Lately the cell companies have been improving the access points, and at least I can now connect using 3G in almost everywhere (even in the mountains).

    Some things good about this tech:

    * I have network access everywhere in my country, in those places I have cellular phones (that means 90+% of the country). It ranges from plain GPRS (64kbit),UMTS (384kbit) and HSD
  • For many years I had mostly ignored CDMA systems and worked primarily on TDMA systems like GSM+GPRS+EGPRS, IS-136, PDC, DECT, PHS and PDC. I were of the impresseion that CDMA systems like IS-95, CDMA2000 and WCDMA R99+HSDPA were overhyped but I assumed they deep down had some merit despite the hype.

    How dissapointing to figure out that the guys who worked on these standards had largely missed out on 10 years of development in GSM so now we are stuck with something that is a solution to yesterdays problems

  • ...measured right now is 2457.6kbps on Sprint's EVDO network while sitting in my apartment. I use an HTC PPC6700. My favorite speed record is arguably the 1228.8kbps I can pull down in rural Franklin County, Kansas. I am quite impressed with it. Until some service that is way cooler and some device that is way more powerful than the 6700 come out, I have little to complain about.

    However, Sprint is retarded when it comes to PAM (phone as modem) use. If you have the cheap plan and try to use your phone a

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