THE 3RD GENERATION PARTNERSHIP PROJECT (3GPP) is the most successful set of telecommunications standards in the world. It is estimated that 85 percent of all cellular calls are set up using 3GPP access technology. To provide 2X the speed and 3X the voice capacity of the previous-generation 3GPP standard, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) is leveraging multipleinput multiple-output (MIMO) technology and higher-order modulation. In a white paper by Anritsu's Lynne Patterson titled, "HSPA+: Features and Testing," the author explains various aspects of HSPA+, how it can provide a path to the fourth-generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, and testing requirements.

The 11-page white paper begins by providing a summary of the evolution of the 3GPP standards. From the introduction of GSM as a second-generation (2G) time-division-multipleaccess (TDMA) standard in 1991, evolution has been continuous. HSPA+ is currently the leading 3GPP standard, as it supports downlink peak rates to 28 Mb/s (42 Mb/s in 3GPP Release 8) and as much as 11 Mb/s in the uplink. A table is included to show the differences between 3GPP Release 7 and 8 HSPA+.

By improving radio link performance, operators can upgrade to HSPA+ while taking advantage of their existing infrastructure. Because HSPA+ is backward compatible with all previous wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) releases, the upgrade promises to be simple and smooth. The document provides a list of the enhancements included in HSPA+ and their performance results as well. For example, HSPA+ introduces 64 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) on the downlink (6 b/symbol), which promises to increase data rates by 50 percent. On the uplink, 16QAM doubles data rates from 2 b/symbol for quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) to 4 b/symbol for user equipment (UE) that is not power limited.

HSPA+ also leverages the double transmit antenna array (D-TxAA) MIMO implementation, which enables two independent data streams to travel simultaneously over the radio channel using the same W-CDMA channel code. Among the other special features examined by the author are continuous packet connectivity (CPC) and enhanced CELL_VACH and improved layer 2 for downlink.

With HSPA+ networks already launched across the globe, it is essential that test equipment stay ahead of this standard in terms of evolution. The final part of the white paper details how Anritsu has added HSPA+ to existing product lines via both software and hardware upgrades. It provides brief overviews of the firm's MD8480C signaling tester, MT8820B radio communication analyzer, MS269xA signal analyzer, MG3700A vector signal generator, and ME7873/4F TRX/ RRM conformance tester.

Anritsu Co., 490 Jarvis Dr., Morgan Hill, CA 95037- 2809; (408) 778-2000, FAX: (408) 776-1744, Internet: www.anritsu.com.