Rogers unveils new wireless network - High Speed Downlink Packet Access
A new network aimed at business and high-end personal users is being rolled out today by Rogers Wireless. The new network, called High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), is transferring data at 1 megabit per second (Mbps), a speed that is expected to increase to a maximum of 14.4 Mbps, Rogers chief technology officer Bob Berner said Thursday. In contrast, the current high-speed data access offered by Rogers, called EDGE, runs at 120 kilobits per second (Kbps).
The Canadian version of the service is currently available only in the "golden horseshoe," which stretches from Niagara to Oshawa in Southern Ontario and includes the greater Toronto area. HSDPA is expected to be rolled out across the nation in the near future.
So far, the network will be available only for wireless data transfers via Sierra's Wireless AirCard 860, which plugs into a notebook computer's PCMCIA slot.
The technology will be incorporated into cellphones in the first quarter of 2007, Mr. Berner said. All the cellphones offering the HSDPA will be backward-compatible, meaning they will work at the slower speeds when there's no HSDPA available.
HSDPA is a protocol for data transmission that improves transfer rates, offering wireless Internet access at broadband speeds. The wireless AirCard easily plugs into laptop computers and offers secure access. It is also compatible with EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks.
It is an enhancement to the Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) protocol, which applies different modulation and coding techniques as well as multiple antennas.
Mr. Berner said that 80 per cent "of the planet" uses the GSM protocol for cellphones, and the wide-band HSDPA is compatible with that. But CDMA — the narrow-band protocol used by Telus and Bell — is not compatible with HSDPA.
"From now on, wireless subscribers can enjoy high-speed mobile Internet and multimedia downloads at speeds previously possible only on a wired connection," Rogers chief marketing office John Boynton said.
The HSDPA network will be rolled out to the top Canadian markets throughout 2007 and will include the introduction of HSDPA-enabled phones and new applications as well as much improved customer experiences on current leading applications by Rogers Wireless.
Rogers has also rolled out its Intelligent Connection Manager, a free software application that allows subscribers to manage their network data connection options — including HSDPA, EDGE, company LANs, designated Wi-Fi hotspots, or cable/DSL. With the software, users can switch back and forth between available services.
Rogers is selling the Sierra Wireless AirCard 860 at an introductory price of $49.99 with a three-year term or $349.99 with a one- or two-year term. Existing data price plans apply.
Rogers is also offering unlimited e-mail and browsing for three months on data plans of $60 per month or more.