This is my personal favorite mobile technology that’s not an Android product in, well, forever. Popularly known as HSPA or HSDPA or HSPA+, it’s what you’re using when your Android phone shows a little “H” up by the signal-bars readout.
Before I dive in, I should freely admit that I understand very little about 2G and 3G and 4G and the forest of acronyms that surround them. But I’m a damn heavy mobile-data user who travels widely, and thus I have some claim to connaisseurship in this space.
Anyhow, here are the good things about HSPA.
It Works Everywhere · Specifically, in my experience, Canada, the US, Japan, China, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Germany.
It also works beautifully at our cabin on Keats Island, which is has consequently, starting in 2011, been Internet-enabled.
It’s Telco-agnostic · If your phone does “3G”, well, it might be tied to some particular carrier’s frequencies; in the US people sometimes talk about the “T” (T-Mobile) and “A” (AT&T) bands. And I hear rumblings on the horizon that the much-ballyhooed LTE may suffer from similar pathologies.
My HSPA devices seem to hop around and latch cheerfully onto whatever network is handy.
It’s Fast Enough · I know, everything is supposed to be irrelevant in the face of the mighty LTE, but damn it, on a decent HSPA connection I can run videoconferences over VPN, or feed WiFi to a computer where I’m doing email while listening to a hockey game on a Vancouver radio station’s Web feed, or upload 300K pictures to this blog fast enough to Just Not Worry.
I’ve never carried around an LTE device yet, but it’s going to have an uphill struggle impressing me.
Anyhow, whoever it was that designed HSPA, and whoever it was that built the HSPA radios in the devices I’ve been using recently: Thank you!
[Colophon: Published over HSPA while listening to Google Music over HSPA and uploading pictures for another blog piece over HSPA, with interruptions for email and Twitter over HSPA.]