Nortel and Sierra Wireless are collaborating to jointly test and market solutions using High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), an emerging broadband wireless technology. The companies have completed an initial series of live test calls, including the industry's first using a data card product slated for commercial release.
The companies completed the live test calls using Sierra Wireless AirCard(R) 850 wireless wide area network cards and commercial UMTS network equipment from Nortel. The calls were made from a laptop computer in a moving automobile with connection speeds averaging 800 kilobits per second (with peak data rates in excess of 1 megabit per second).
Broadband services demonstrated included high-resolution interactive gaming, multimedia music tracks, DVD-quality film and video, 'push-to-watch' services and access to large e-mail attachments -- at speeds more than three times faster than today's commercial next generation networks.
Nortel recently announced plans for a major Pan-European HSDPA network deployment with mmO2 and is working with a number of other leading global operators on HSDPA trials and deployments in 2005. Commercial field trials with the Sierra Wireless AirCard 850 are expected to begin in 2005.
HSDPA is a migration technology for the UMTS wireless standard used by leading wireless operators across Europe, Japan and North America to deliver voice and data services. HSDPA boosts network capacity to carry up to three times as much data traffic and up to twice as many wireless users per cell site compared to today's UMTS networks. By making more efficient use of the existing network and boosting throughput, HSDPA is designed to significantly reduce operating costs while delivering a better end-user experience.
The latest addition to Sierra Wireless' award-winning AirCard product line, the AirCard 850 utilizes the 2100 MHz UMTS frequency band and is targeted primarily for use in Europe. The card will also be compatible with EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks on all four GSM frequency bands (850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz), for worldwide use in areas where a UMTS network connection is not available. Commercial availability of the AirCard 850 wireless network card is expected in the second half of 2005.
The broadband calls were completed in and around Nortel's Wireless Center of Excellence in Chateaufort, France using commercially-available UMTS Base Transceiver stations. Nortel's equipment is designed to be HSDPA-ready and to cost-effectively upgrade to support HSDPA through a simple software installation.